Between shades - Sergio Garcia Gavalda

Light wouldn’t exist without darkness is a universal rule that this street photographer uses with mastery, conceiving scenes where shapes would be nothing without shadows, obscure passages in which people wander with no more purpose than to find a purpose, trying to reach through the darkness that light that will guide them through life itself.

 
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When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you get into photography?

Well, the truth is that I don’t like to define myself as a photographer: I prefer to say that I take pictures. There are so many people with talent to compare myself with that it doesn’t seem honest to me.

I started in photography around 15 years ago, taking pictures in theaters and performances; I even had an exhibition but, eventually, I set aside and after 8 years without touching a camera, I started taking pictures of the streets of my city, Barcelona.

 
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What draws you to capture your city in an abstract way? Are you seeing it this way or are you creating an abstract world for your stories to play out into it?

With time, you learn to see the world in an abstract way. When I started doing street photography, I used to take pictures of the life on the streets in a direct way, but a time came in which I took notice that big cities have a lot of information and elements that distract you from what you really want to say. With time, I have learned to isolate the subjects that I shoot playing with the light and shadows and, of course, black and white is a perfect tool to do so.

 
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What are your influences outside photography?

I would like to say that reading, but I’m a terrible reader. No doubt music is and has been a big influence in my life.

When I was little, I used to take piano lessons but —as the majority of teenagers— I wanted to be a Rock Star. Since then, I prefer romanticism artists. Chopin and Rachmaninoff have become almost an obsession to me.

 
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What camera and lenses are you using on the street and why?

Nowadays, I work with an X-T2, but for a long time I have worked with an X-E2. I use the XF23mm F1.4 and XF35mm F1.4 lenses.

 
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What do you enjoy about Barcelona?

I love its light, its people and the life we perceive in it.

 
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What photographers are your biggest influences?

Perhaps, the photographer that has influenced me the most in my whole life has been Eugene Smith because of his constant and almost unhealthy way of searching for perfection, for his rebellion against the established, but especially for his quotation: I didn’t write the rules, why should I follow them?

 
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Your black and white work is stunning and very contrasty. Can you tell us a bit more about how you process your images?

For the type of pictures that I use to take, not all of them are usually good so, before I shoot, I try to visualise in my mind the final result that I’m looking for. I use to expose to the light in order to find deeper shadows, raising the contrast with curves and levels —depending on the picture— with Lightroom.

 
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Where can we see more of your work?

I use to post my photographies on Instagram, but I also have a small portfolio on Lensculture, that —by the way— I should update soon!

An independent magazine inspired by the pictures and stories of emerging and established Fujifilm photographers from all over the world - Learn more