Let's start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
Well, Vicente, first of all, I'm delighted to be able to do this interview with you, it's a pleasure for me. Thank you for this opportunity.
My name is Gus, I was born in Asturias but I have been "adopted" in the Balearic Islands for almost 20 years. When my wife and I decided to get married we moved to a small village in the Sierra de Tramuntana, Puigpunyent, her hometown.
Do you have other passions besides photography?
The truth is that I am very restless, I like many things, but above all, my greatest passion is to enjoy my little daughter. Then there is the rest, photography above all, lately also digital and 3D editing or creation and I'm experimenting with new things to do in the studio with conceptual photography and with some dioramas that I'm creating.
What is your favourite food?
Oh, my favourite food...there are so many, but I think that, without a doubt, I would choose the "Caldo Gallego" that my mother makes... the time I spend away from her is eternal and I can't enjoy it.
Your favourite film or film genre?
About cinema, I am passionate about it, I watch films constantly, when I can I even do "cycles" by actors or directors and I watch a series of several films by them. Cohen Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, actors like John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Edgar G. Robinson, and also more recent films and cinema, of course. Lately, I have seen about a dozen films with Leonardo DiCaprio and I have been very impressed by his evolution and maturity as an actor, he is a great actor, one of the best contemporary actors for me.
Do you enjoy reading?
I read compulsively, from a very young age, I read practically everything, almost always novels, although if I am interested in something like WWII or the American Civil War I can read historical books. I am currently finishing the complete works (re-reading) of Edgard Allan Poe. I must confess that one of my passions is to collect any edition I can find of "Don Quixote de la Mancha" (I have more than 20th different editions) and it is a book that I read once or twice every year, when I finish one, while I decide what to read, I usually read some chapters of Don Quixote and so, without realising it, I have read it a couple of times a year. In a normal year, I can read between 50 and 60 books. I discovered the electronic format about 10 or 12 years ago and that was a great thing for me, I still use the first E-Book that my wife gave me and it works perfectly. Even so, I still buy paper books on many occasions. I currently have a digital library with more than 50,000 books, but in print, I have about 500.
Are you a sports person?
I like sport a lot, watching it. I like football, I'm a big fan of padel, I like to go and watch my wife's matches, I'm passionate about Rugby, I never miss a Six Nations. Unfortunately, practising it is more complicated for me, my health and physical problems only allow me to walk, although my 7 or 8 km of daily walking I never miss a day, usually on forest paths around the village where I live.
And now let’s focus on photography… How did you get started in photography?
I started in photography very young, my father left me a Kodak camera that he had and I used to spend on film like crazy, unfortunately, it was very expensive and I couldn't afford it, at the end of the '90s, I discovered digital photography, Photoshop editing and that was a "blessing" for me. Then I evolved with the cameras and editing until I got to where I am now.
How do you think your life experience affects the photographs you take?
Quite a lot, generally my artworks are very much related to my dreams, illusions, and fantasies, also to the world that surrounds me, sometimes I take pictures of something, apparently meaningless, but I have in mind, at some point, to make an edition of what my imagination was "telling me". I usually take notes so I don't forget what my mind was imagining or I make little sketches.
How did other photographers influence your work?
In the beginning, quite a lot, I follow the work of many great artists, lately also that of many magnificent illustrators, although in the end you always try to find your personal style and little by little you get there. It is true that, when I do a photography course, for a while, the type of editing I am learning influences me a lot in the works I do, although in general these works are not usually published as they are rather exercises to learn new techniques and they are very similar to what I have learned in that course. Then I try to apply what I have learnt to my editions in my own way.
How would you define your style in photography?
There is no concrete definition, I'm very restless and I do a lot of different kinds of editing, multi-exposure, B&W, creative editing, and photomontage with various images, now I'm experimenting with studio photography, I've done infrared photography for a while, I don't really think there is a word that defines my style of working.
Are you a fisherman or a hunter, photographically speaking? Do you start from a predefined idea or does photography suddenly appear?
I like to define myself as a "dream hunter", my images come from my dreams and imagination, normally I have a preconceived idea of what I want to do and I make sketches, take notes, etc, this process sometimes takes me days and even weeks, of what my mind imagines to try to bring it to the work, it is also true that, sometimes, a simple walk makes me see in an image something that evokes me a "dream or illusion" and I take that picture, some notes and then I review them to find the concept that I like for it.
What equipment do you use - cameras, lenses...?
I have always been a Canon user, until now I had two cameras, an EOS R and an EOS RP (the EOS RP converted to Full Spectrum for infrared photography), but recently I had the chance to try an R6 that I borrowed from my usual shop and I decided to change the EOS R for the EOS R6, I really liked the performance of this camera and during the week that I had it "on loan" I found that it is above the R in performance and decided to change it, so now, I am starting to experiment with the EOS R6 in more depth.
I have several Canon lenses that fit both cameras, although not all of them are suitable for infrared photography and therefore I only use them on the R6.
And the mobile, of course, nowadays mobiles have the option to take RAW photos, manage the parameters of the shot and are a great alternative for when you're out and about and don't want to carry heavy equipment. I am a loyal advocate of photography with a phone, in fact, some of the work I sell the most is taken with a mobile phone.
I also have a little studio equipment, various flashes, lights, etc, as well as elements that I have built myself, such as some backgrounds for the shots or supports for some images I have taken.
What software do you use to process your photographs?
Adobe's photography software, Photoshop is my main editing tool along with Camera RAW and the Nick Color Effex plug-in. I have a few other editing programs but I hardly use them, very rarely. For managing my photos I've got used to Adobe Bridge and I find it a great manager for my files.
Now I'm also studying and testing 3D, with Blender, but I haven't done any work with it yet.
What is your favourite photo and why?
There are many, of mine, maybe "Spring Rain", because of how I took it, with a mobile phone on a day when I was caught in heavy rain in the city and then how I managed to edit it and how much the people who follow me liked it, it is one of my best selling images. Of other artists, the amount of work that I like would be innumerable.
What turns an image into a good image? What does make it stand out?
That is perhaps too personal for each viewer, it is a question with a complicated answer. For me, the first impression when I see it, is very important, what it transmits to me, then I go into the analysis of the image, composition, creativity, colour, etc. and I make a decision if I really like it or not. If it is an image that I come back to it from time to time to see it is that I have liked it a lot and I analyse it again and again to learn. You really learn a lot by observing, even life situations, a landscape, a road, how natural light and nature show us reality.
What are your tips for beginner photographers?
See many artworks by other artists, analyze them, look for possible improvements that you think they could have, or stay with what they already represent and analyze how it is possible to achieve it. Take courses with established artists (although it is not cheap, and many artists that you may like do not do them, it is essential) to be able to learn new techniques to later apply them in your editions, I have personally done many courses, and I keep doing them, although it has nothing to do with my way of editing, I always learn something to be able to apply it. Other times I have found that I have acquired a course and it has not been of any use to me since even I knew more than the person who taught it. It is important to read opinions about them from those who have made them.
Do not be obsessed with having the most expensive equipment and with megapixels "to give away", in the end, your creativity is what counts and you can achieve incredible things with your imagination and if you learn from good artists.
A basic team can be more useful than one of the thousands of euros.
And above all patience and a lot of practice, trial, and error, not getting carried away by frustration, we have all edited some works more than a dozen times until we see that we are satisfied with the final result
What are your plans and ideas for the next projects?
I have recently done some courses to learn more about studio photography, light painting, and light management (flash) and I want to do and practice a lot of this. Conceptual photography in the studio, I have adapted an area of my father-in-law's "huge" garage for it and I think (in fact I already have ideas) that I will achieve some interesting things.
Of course, I will continue making editions of my usual works.
I have also worked for an online photography academy in Spain making a video tutorial that I also offer on my website "Creative Landscape" and now I am about to put a new one online, "Street Multiexposure", many people have asked me how I edited the images from my series "Streets of Vienna" and I have decided to do it, it is quite advanced and you can already see a preview of what I will include on my website or my youtube channel.
Both include English subtitles, many English-speaking followers have asked me for it and my English is a bit lazy to explain things properly. But I am happy because I have been told that these subtitled translations are very good.
And of course, keep learning a little more every day
Why did you decide to join 100ASA?
Well, it would take a long time to explain it, about two years ago I joined the 100ASA gallery, I really liked the gallery and its operation, the transparency, and, above all, the participation of the users.
I came from being a Senior Critic in another prestigious online gallery, but quite disappointed with what I saw in it, and how it worked and I decided to leave it. 100ASA at that time was like a magnificent island in a desert for me.
For personal reasons, I was away from online galleries and social networks for a long time. I even canceled the contracts with two galleries that represented me in NY.
I remember long conversations with Maximiliano, very cordial, at that time, he even offered me to join the Curators team, but I had to tell him no, I did not feel, and I don't now, capable of judging the work of other artists, and my personal situation, I was not allowed to do it.
Marius Surleac recently contacted me to offer me a collaboration as an ambassador for 100ASA, he trusted my work and proposed me to the team. Honestly, I had not visited galleries for a long time and I was pleasantly surprised by the evolution that 100ASA had had, how the team works and the great leap in quality that it had given. There really is a lot of work well done by the team.
My personal situation has changed, now I can participate more in galleries, in fact, to be honest, I have sent photos to another one in which I had the honor of helping to create it from the beginning but I also had to leave at that moment in my life.
And this invitation from Marius and the 100ASA team was an honor for me, I felt flattered and did not hesitate to accept it.
Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate as much time to it as I would like due to commitments or, sometimes, personal situations, but I hope that this will change soon and I will have more time for it.