From Lima, Perú, Diego Bazán is an analogue photographer who moved to New York City seven years ago. At a young age, Diego was fascinated by photography and its ability to document fleeting moments in authentic ways. Since then, he has crafted an intimate cinematic style and strong body of work in street photography. He shares a series of photos with our Color Negative 400, and talks with us about his creative life.
Hi Diego, we’re so glad to speak with you! Can you introduce yourself to our Magazine readers?
I was born in Lima, Perú. Moved to the United States in 2012 and I’ve been living in New York City since 2014.
I’ve always been attracted to photography. My dad was obsessed with documenting everything we did as kids, so there was always a camera around everywhere we went. I still keep his 35mm point and shoot camera with me.
I remember the first photo project I made in college. It was about following my dad at his job, he was a salesman so I took photos of him driving all over Lima to meet his clients and when I saw something interesting I made him stop the car and pose for me. I kept taking photos the following years but without having a project in mind.
It was not until 2014 when I moved to New York, that I decided to give street photography a try.
What’s your take on street photography? Why do you choose this genre?
I remember watching a video of Mark Cohen photographing a young guy on the streets of Pennsylvania. It blew my mind how someone could actually take photos of a stranger that way and create very interesting compositions at the same time. He said something like:
“I can make a picture of his neck... you wanna watch it? Because it's right over here” to the camera man, and a few seconds later BOOM he took a few photos with a flash just a few centimeters away from that guy. That started some kind of motivation to find more street photographers and learn more about it.
Why shoot analogue when it makes street photography more difficult?
I don't know if it makes it more difficult but it definitely slows you down. In my case I like taking my time when I see something or someone that gets my eye. I also decided to shoot with a Pentax 67 for all these photos so I can't shoot at the same speed as if I had a smaller camera.
How would you describe the NYC street photography community? What makes it special?
It is extremely supportive. I’m part of the New York City Street Photography Collective (NYCSPC) and I’ve met amazing photographers there. We have monthly Crits and events, so it keeps us inspired and creating new work.
You shot all these on Lomography Color Negative 400! How did you find the film complementing your style?
I love how versatile it is. It gives me an amazing palette of colors for street work and portraits.
Do you like to plan ahead for your shoots, or is everything spontaneous?
I have some spots in the city that I like to go to very often because I can find interesting light or subjects, but to be honest there have been times that I find what I was looking for on my way to the train or a few blocks from my apartment. So it depends.
There is a certain warmth that your photos truly emit. What feeling/message (if any) do you want to convey through your photography?
I would describe my photos as attempting to capture a cinematic and dreamlike representation of what I see on the streets. Moments you recall from memory, or the everyday sidewalk corner that suddenly feels like a movie set.
How do you challenge yourself in your creative life?
Leaving my comfort zone when I feel my work is getting repetitive. I’ve started this new project of street portraits that is helping with my fear of talking to strangers. Also reading a lot of photo books and discovering new photographers helps me keep inspired and creative.
What’s one thing you would tell yourself from when you first started out?
Don't be scared of making changes in your style.
Are you working on any upcoming projects? What can we expect next?
Right now I’m working on two different projects. The first is my first book about street photography in New York with work from the past 4 years that is almost complete, and the second is a project about street portraits that I started last year.