It’s easy to take a photo, but what really made a difference was that I always knew how to find the right position, and I never was wrong. Their head slightly turned, a serious face, the position of the hands… I was capable of making someone look really good. The photos were always very good. That’s why I always say that it’s a real art.
– Seydou Keïta
In an Interview with Africa’s A Country, Photographer Juan Orrantia discusses his latest project Holding (on to) Amilcar, experiences in Guinea-Bissau, creative process and photojournalistic approach…
I started out photographing people, in their homes, very into the action of moments. But I also always had an interest in place and how it accumulates events and things that happened there (you have to understand, my first big project was in a small town in Colombia where there had been a massacre 5 years before). Since then, I have been slowly moving into another style, where both people and place are expressing issues without one having to rely on the obvious image — lets call it the journalistic one — where all of the information is contained within the frame. I prefer the more ambiguous, expressive, suggestive image, that allows one to interact with the situation and its representation. I have this thing of looking at places and thinking of what has happened there, what the places themselves contain. But I wouldn’t say I am a landscape photographer, I am in search for answers both within people and in their surroundings. I think that also my career has taken me to reject some of my training in anthropology and its almost obsessive approach to having to speak to people to get to some sort of understanding. There are many other sensory ways of interacting that allow one to engage with topics of intellectual concern, and colors, forms, sounds, all participate in that.