If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose?
I try to express, with the fewest possible elements, emotions that reach the viewer and connect with his or her interior.
Why are you so drawn to long exposure photography?
I love how reality can change when a scene is registered for a longer time; it becomes magic. You can sometimes think that it is not a regular scene. It acquires a different dimension.
Why do you prefer black and white photography?
I have always thought that black and white photography is more conceptual because there is no distraction from the color– and it focuses exclusively on shapes and textures. Color has some advantages but it is not that conceptual and basic.
Who are three of your favorite photographers, and, more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
I have always felt a bond with minimalist photographers. I love when the boundaries between photography and drawing fade away, when extreme compositions seem as if they were drawn with carbon or pencil. This is where my education as an architect influences my photographic work.
Michael Kenna’s scenes seem to be so carefully composed that it looks as if such scenes were staged by him. Alfred Stiegletz and Edward Steichen’s platinum palladium prints have such control over light that they seem to be hand painted. I feel the same about their textures.
What artistic influences, outside of photography, have had a significant influence on how you approach your photography (for example, painters, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc.)?
- Van Gogh: I really admire the contrasts and textures, the integrity handled in every one of his works; each has a carefully studied concept.
- Mozart: The way he links the minimum with the supreme … how he moves from the worldly to the divine.
- Tadao Ando: I love the purity and simplicity of his schemes, the simplicity of his shapes, and the way he manages light within spaces.
What are your thoughts about trying to find the best gear possible versus working on making the best possible image with the gear you already have?
I often find myself composing a fabulous scene with only a regular camera and without additional gear. I also very frequently carry sophisticated gear, including several cameras, and am unable to find the proper scene, light or favorable circumstances to create an image. In photography, it is important, undoubtedly, to have nice gear, but I have encountered many photographers that carry state of the art equipment, but they haven’t committed to training their eye. Images are not created with just state of the art gear. One must also have aesthetic training and an artistic background, both of which are even more important than the gear itself.
How would you define fine art? Is it just a label?
Fine Art means achieving an image that transcends the ordinary to become art. To achieve it, you must have a previous vision of what you plan to create before even getting to the location. Fine Art means closing your eyes and imagining how you want your image to look and what you want to achieve. It is not only creating a beautiful image; it is, even more importantly, creating something that transcends aesthetics, something that reaches and moves the spectator’s interior.
If you had to come up with one very important lesson that you think every photographer needs to learn, what would it be?
The most important lesson is something I am always learning during every photographic session: Adapt yourself to the circumstances; photographic work is unpredictable. As photographers, many of us spend a lot of time planning routes, time frames, weather, etc., but when we arrive to the location we always find something inconvenient, which might either block our creativity or help us. Improvisation, which is as important as the camera itself, must be part of our gear.
What are your thoughts about the benefits of online sharing? Are there any particular social media or image sharing sites you prefer or do not prefer?
I think that the digital revolution has had a tremendous impact on how all information is shared, but photography has certainly been one of the most affected activities. We all know the advantages but we must be careful with the risks it brings. But here is where I want to go deeper. While the speed in which images are rendered and shared through the online world is impressive, it also makes me think about how disposable photography may become. Many photographers spend very little time composing and creating their images. Having access to so many images can make us creatively lazy, many becoming copycats. I think that it is very important to always cultivate our vision and avoid being overwhelmed by the flood of images that are available on all the online sites.
My favorite sites are Flickr and Google+. I think that there are some other interesting sites such as 500px, but I don’t have time to engage very many sites and keep them updated. It can become so time demanding that your own work may be in jeopardy due to lost time socializing.
What photographic cliché or common photography question, if any, irritates you the most?
By far the most annoying question is: Do you process your photos in Photoshop or they are natural? Photoshop is merely another tool in the creative process. Tools have always existed that help one to create and edit photography; just take a look at the analogical work created by Jerry Uelsmann.
Photographic prints have always been edited in the darkroom.
If you were stranded on an island, and you could have one camera, one lens, one filter, one tripod, two books, and ten CDs, what would they be and why?
- Hasselblad V
- Hasselblad 50mm (wide)
- ND 10 Stops
- A Gitzo portable tripod
- It is a very basic but complete gear, I love using “The Hassel” to compose my scenes.
- The Bible: I think that it would be a nice time to discover its wisdom.
- Don Quixote of La Mancha: situations that arise in the book seem to me too interesting and ingenious.
My favorite music has always been a mixed salad; only one genre may result in boredom.
- Mozart Requiem
- Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
- Coltrane Saxophone Colossus
- Sonny Rollins Tenor Madness
- Joaquin Sabina Best
- Leonard Cohen Songs from the Road
- Silvio Rodriguez Best
- Jason Mraz Love is a Four Letter Word
- Vivaldi Four Seasons
- Supertramp Breakfast in America
Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I think long exposure photography has reached a point where much of what is being done has become repetitive; it is now a real challenge for every photographer to find his own vision and avoid repeating what has already been done many times. It is always a challenge for any photographer to find his or her vision and not repeat what has been repeatedly produced. My vision is sometimes very ambitious. There are a lot of fronts that I am willing to cover with my images. I really like long exposure, night photography, textures and street photography.
Is there any specific place that you would like to visit to take photos? I am, once again, most interested in the why.
Iceland and Japan: lots of water, waterfalls, beaches, rocks, and incredible weather for my kind of photography.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
It seems to me that long exposure photography is facing a point where very few photographers have something new to offer. We have fallen into a cycle of copy and repeat, which is very important to be aware of and to avoid. Every day I encounter photographers that repeat scenes and compositions that have been over used. The actual challenge is to create new proposals that link with the spectator and move his interior.
If you feel up to it, try and write a haiku that expresses something about your overall photographic direction.
Thick fog lifts
unfortunately, I am where
I thought I was
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