Ray Litsala is a one-of-a-kind analog photographer who enjoys portraying women just the way they are; beautiful and confident. His models inspire him to create magical photographs, and along the way, he also tells their stories. In an interview for our magazine, Ray reveals who was the very person to stand in front of his camera as well as which photographers spark his inspiration and creativity.
Hey Ray! We wish you a warm welcome to our magazine! What creative projects are you working on at the moment?
It’s an honor for me that your magazine is interested in me. At the moment I'm working on a future photo exhibition that will take place in Paris next year. With my producer, Pascale Goufan, we are preparing something that will emanate stifling and touching frequencies. We hope so. I will keep you informed of the dates.
When was the moment you realized you wanted to pursue photography career? How did it all start for you?
You know. When I was nine years old, with my brother, we watched all pictures of fashion magazines. And I said, when I will be an adult, I will be a photographer. And I forgot that. Five years ago a friend forgot his camera on my sofa. He told me to keep the camera for a while. Then I remembered my promise of a child.
I write thoughts, songs, poems, and stories forever. So, I saw the opportunity to transform my lyrics into pictures. I like taking photos of the landscape, but I do a lot of images of women. It’s the translation of my words toward Female Beauty. The result of my love for women.
What was your very first camera? Who was the first person you had a pleasure of photographing?
Today I use only analog cameras, but my first was a DSLR. A Nikon D40 loaned by a friend. My primary subject was my girlfriend at the time. Ines. The first muse. I am a wanderer of life walking in search of inspiration. I take pleasure in photographing people who have a few things to share with me. Their stories and feelings. Muses are essential to my creation.
Your models are mainly women and you portray them in a very natural way. How do you help them feel confident in front of your lens? What is it that you want to express throughout your photography?
I like people who have stories to share. We are discussing a lot. That puts you at ease. I am smooth and natural, and I have a good feeling with honest people. If there is no feeling, it does not work. That's why I can work with everyone. Superficiality and backward thoughts repel me. The same models often come up on my feed. We become loved ones.
I want images to reflect real life. Personal thoughts. A sick or well-being. Even if it's for a fashion project, I coach the models to drop their fashion habits, and they think lifestyle. Either I teach them to play (because I like the images looks like movies scenes) or I ask them to stay herself. And I take a picture in the middle of a conversation to make the mood I was expecting.
If you would have to choose between analog and digital what would it be? In your opinion, what makes analog photography so unique?
Without hesitation I choose analog. I abandoned digital photography one year and a half ago because, although I did not like the photo editing, I still added a filter to have grain. I had to stop that and make my grain, my effects in an artisan way. I had to relate reality as it is seen: our eyes are not perfect. No one understands a world smoothed around him. It was necessary that I bring a discreet charm of the past that makes us nostalgic on images of the present, and sentimental on pictures to come. All that makes analog photography so unique.
How do you prepare for your photoshoots? What is it that inspires you and the creative process behind your photographs?
I think of a scenario before. A story. My model inspires me, and I think of a few scenes that could work. But never in precision, because I improvise a lot. I like freestyle. I love that the ideas arrive at the moment with the feeling that we share.
Which artists influenced your work and photographic style?
Photographers, Directors, and Musicians influence me. I listen to a song, and I want to make pictures on lyrics and music. I see incredible scenes in movies, and I want to do something in the same style. Few favorites director: Jean-Luc Godard, Tarantino. Few celebrity women: Faye Dunaway, Brigitte Bardot, etc. Few favorite photographers (Ellen von Unwerth, André Breton, Helmut Newton)
Besides all the photography work, you are also a videographer. Where do you find inspiration for your videos? How do you turn your creative vision into an actual video?
A picture is my paper and camera, my pen. I have lot things to share and to show. So I can’t disassociate photography from the video. I do a lot of fashion movies because it's effortless. I have already a love story during a photo then I shoot a bit to make a video. But, I need to show my words against Human Stupidity. So, I did some short movies in the past.
I will do again because of my new experiences and my maturity. I work on my next movies. It is the source of my inspiration. Then I am motivated by the exercise of making metaphors and rebuses by transforming words into images. And I want to remind people of things. Because I do not think I have things to teach people. But just remind them of these things. The problem in our daily lives, it is that one forgets the essential.
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I participated in the shooting of a talented director and writer, Pascale Goufan (who is also the producer of my next exhibition). I was a cameraman, and she left me a lot of freedom on the shooting. The goal was to reproduce my portrait style in the video. The short film "No Gender Project: Chapter I: Fallope" will be ready at the end of the year. Stay tuned.
Now, I work on text on my next short movie, and I will start shooting directly after.
In the same time, I’m looking for artistic agents who believe in my stuff to work in Europe, US, and Japan.
All photographs shown in this article were used with the permission of Ray Litsala. If you want to see more of his work, follow Ray on Instagram.
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