Jontxu Fernandez is a very talented visual artist engaged in street photography from Spain. His vision and method in capturing images on streets is exceptional and unique. It’s becoming very difficult to see fresh images with thousands of photographers on streets waiting to grab a chance to get the perfect shot. Jontxu is very meticulous in his work to the extent that instead of clicking shutter all the time he returns to his chamber empty-handed when he doesn’t get something worthwhile. His Flickr photostream is a big and impressive gallery growing by the weeks. We’re showcasing some of his images (selected by him) with an introductory interview:
Hi Jontxu. To begin with, tell us something about yourself :
I am from Sopelana, a town near Bilbao, in the Basque Country, Northern Spain. I am very fond of football and a supporter of Athletic Club Bilbao. I practice mountain biking and jogging. We have a van in which we like to travel. Thanx to it, I’ve been able to photograph in countries like Italy, France and Portugal among others. Thus travelling and photography are the two things I enjoy most.
I started taking pictures in childhood. It’s a largely an ingrained hobby that I got from my father who always kept a camera with him and used to take family photos. I studied photography in high school and later I made my studies in sight and sound. Working as a post-producer and producer of 3D videos, I also do some photography work. I mostly take photos in the work breaks while riding two-hours aimlessly through the city. I’m lucky to be able to combine my work with photography. I think they have much in common and I take advantage of it. I am fond of shooting and take pictures whenever I can. I always carry my x100 in the backpack. I see more than pictures when I walk around everywhere. It is a very intense feeling and I love it.
Photography for me is like therapy. Getting out into the street to photograph means having to be aware of everything happening around you, trying to see things that are inconsequential, and to turn those moments into something unique and exciting. To photograph is to record a time, a moment, capture a unique and unrepeatable event and ultimately be surprised by what happens around us.
I’m mostly into street capture and I do it with my Fuji x100. I can speak about this camera only in high terms. Its quality cannot easily be surpassed. It is true that it is not the perfect camera, but it has everything I need. Its appearance and functions are wonderful, so is its optical viewfinder which shows the scene in ample brightness. I also use a Canon 5D MkII for more professional work. I keep it attached with a fixed focus 35mm and 50mm mostly. I use Adobe Lightroom to process images and not do much adjustment.
As an amateur photographer that I am, my greatest achievement is to make pictures that I like and I enjoy making them. Thanx to Flickr, I’ve done some interviews for other photography blogs or digital magazines. I recently received an order of work and I am enjoying it like never before. I have also recently exhibited at the Photomuseum Zarautz in a group exhibition with seven other Spanish photographers who shoot with Fujifilm X series.
Every time I go out to photograph I do not work with a predetermined ideas. I work on the five senses in everything around me and I try to photograph anything I find interesting, albeit inconsequential for most people. Sometimes I roam aimlessly in the entire city and do not get the shot I look for. This happens to me more often than I’d want. I love photographing people in any situation that is not demeaning to them of course. My photography is based on capturing human behaviour with everything around them- architecture, lights, other people, objects, windows, etc.
I think it’s hard to make street photo where I live. People here get uneasy when they see someone with a camera as if he’s going to rob or shoot… I do not know but it is quite a challenge to shoot people in a small town. I don’t have any favourite place here… maybe the old part of the town site. Actually, I think there’s not much photographic culture in Spain and it shows when you go with a camera on the street. Over time I hope it will change although I think this is getting worse.
Hmmm… I do not think I have a good relationship with contemporary photography. It seems to me that it lacks originality and lacks in feeling. Overall I get quite bored of it, but there are works of certain photographers that I find very interesting. I must say on the other hand I am also open to other types of photography and I’m learning to look and reflect on them. I think one has to be in touch with all types of photography so as to get an idea of them.
My aspiration is to continue taking pictures and having fun in it. I am working on preparing a documentary report for my area. I’m trying to have contact with other photographers and gain more knowledge. I have no favorite photographers, and I find many of them all and usually take a lot of things, but most attracts me is certainly Alex Web, I think it makes some impossible and compositions that are very near and authentic, use color as no one. Right now I’m very motivated and I’m doing my professional pinitos and I’m learning a lot, or at least I think.
Say something like an advice or a tip with our readers:
I think it’s me who should receive advice and support from others them but in any case and this applies to everything in life … I can say you have to be consistent in what you do. Keep your eyes on distant horizon and keep working at your desk.
Note: All images used with permission. Please do not copy or distribute without the approval of the photographer.