People have different stories. People have different reasons. Tamara Álvarez speaks up on how she ventured into the world of photography and a little bit on other things during our short chat with her. Much like her photographs, she keeps it simple and real but still with that hint of mystery and revelation. Read on and be inspired by her words and photographs.
Hello, Tamara! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi everyone! My name is Tamara Álvarez and I am a Spanish photographer who spends her time catching the light and having adventures around Europe.
Tell us about your photographic journey. How did you get into it and how does it fit into your personal life?
My photographic journey started when I was little, capturing my family and friends with my disposable camera, and it evolved to an interest of showing my feelings and stories through my photographs. Sometimes I use photography as a medium of expression, to tell stories or simply immortalize memories with my beloved ones.
How would you define photography?
The act of capturing a memory forever.
What do you think is the best thing about it?
That each one captures the moment in a different way.
How do you come up with your concepts?
My concepts mostly come up spontaneously, with the will of expressing something or telling a story.
How do you choose your subjects? What makes a scene photo worthy? Talk us through your creative process.
More than choosing my subjects, I believe I choose the light. I start observing what I have around me (objects, people…) and with it, I start trying until everything seems to fit. It’s not a thoughtful creative process, it is more by instinct. When I'm editing the image, it all makes sense: the photograph reflects what I was feeling at that moment.
How do you stay creative? What keeps you on your toes so to speak?
Typical things like reading, music, cinema... and traveling. I come back home with so many ideas and sometimes with new projects. Opening your eyes to new places and cultures, [en]rich your soul and mind!
It's a fast-paced world we're currently living in. How does a photographer stay relevant in this day and age?
Maybe the key is losing the fear of being exposed. As I read once: stop being a dreamer, start being a doer.
Your shots are evocative, expressive with a hint of mystery. Is that a particular style you're going for in your work?
I believe so, but it came up without [me] looking for it. My style is attached to my own personality, I don’t even think [about] how the photograph will look like; I just keep working on it until it feels right to me. I would like to say that I choose that style to awake some feelings from the viewer, but I do it for myself.
Are there artists/photographers that influence you heavily?
Melania Brescia is one of my favorites for all time. But nowadays with Instagram, you can find thousands of photographers that can inspire you, each one in its [own] way.
What are your favorite camera/accessory setups?
My travels are not the same anymore without my Canon 24-70mm lens! For portrait, I fell in love with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and for personal moments I take my film camera Fuji STX-2 (that I stole from my parents.)
How does your personal work differ from your professional photography?
I always try to put a little of myself in every project I do, playing with light and composition. So I don’t really know if there’s a huge difference between them.
Describe your style in three words.
Personal, emotive and chiaroscuro.
Who or what would you say is your greatest inspiration in your work?
Light, above all.
Do you have an all-time favorite photograph? (Your own) Tell us the story behind it.
It’s really hard to pick one… But I believe that is my photograph Give me hope in the darkness. Some time ago I met [with] some friends to take photographs just to have some fun. Barcelona’s center is full of narrow streets and you can find many contrasts due to the light. We were crossing one of these streets and suddenly my friend Sandra was illuminated with one small ray of light. Magic happened unexpectedly.
What's the most memorable photo you've seen/taken?
Probably one from my latest project Luce. At 12 p.m. a ray of light shows up by the dome’s Pantheon. The impressive architecture, and probably the excess of incense, made it a magical moment, especially for the lovers of the light like me.
If you could collaborate with an artist/photographer/group, who would it be and why?
Probably Louis Dazy, I am a big fan of his double exposures.
What are your hobbies outside of photography?
Travel and… food.
Any upcoming projects? What's next for Tamara Alvarez?
I have just finished my first exhibition at Photogenic Festival (yay!) and released a new project about escaping to another world (check it out on my website soon!). Next January I’m planning to do a 52 week’s project, let’s see where it takes me!
What was the biggest, most influential advice you've received or heard?
I’m so bad at remembering that kind of things, but there’s one quote that I repeat to myself so many times: “Think that everything will be fine, and everything will be fine.”
What would you say to aspiring photographers and creatives out there who are trying to improve their craft?
Keep trying until you have done your best. It will be worth the pain.
What do you think is more important -- talent or skill?
I like to believe in the “sparkle”, that little shiny thing that makes you different from others.
What does a perfect day look like for Tamara Álvarez?
It will start in a different country, with my camera, plenty of time to take photographs and letting fate decide the rest.
If you could pick one thing to replace photography with, what would it be?
I used to write so much before I found photography, so maybe…
Any message for our readers?
We are here to be photographers, but also to live, explore and love. Don’t forget about that.