INTERVIEW

May 21, 2020

STOPPING TIME

IN CONVERSATION WITH ANGEL CARNICER

Photography by Angel Carnicer
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Angel Carnicer describes himself as a restless person who would like to dedicate more time to photography. Never going out with preconceptions, increasingly convinced that photography is more like haiku or aphorism than narration, Angel kicks the streets to feel that strange and healthy feeling of stopping time. "Inept for order and academia, perhaps my style is to have none. I simply let reality, any reality, invoke me."

“Seeing, with some exceptions, is natural; looking requires will, courage and learning.”

TPL: Angel, when did you start getting interested in photography?

AC: It was a professor at my institute who introduced me to the world of photography, at that time exclusively analog. After the Institute, I was able to set up my own home photography lab. My first serious camera was a Zenit SLR, a gift from my older brother. That lasted 4-5 years of self-taught learning. Other concerns and circumstances made photography pass into the background; so for about 30 years I dedicated myself to taking typical photos of family, friends and trips. I suppose that experience left a deep mark; because about 3 years ago I bought a Nikon D3300 and resumed my youth hobby. Today, therefore, I consider myself a novice.

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?

AC: I don't think inspiration is something to find, look for or wait for. One carries in his backpack a cultural heritage (photographs, readings, paintings, experiences, a peculiar sensitivity, etc.) and works with it even without realizing it. Sometimes the spark jumps and sometimes it doesn't. It can happen anywhere.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?

AC: I am not a mythomaniac and more than favorite artists or photographers what I like are their creations. I mean, for example, that I like Goya's black paintings and his 'Disasters of War' engravings. However, here is a list where not everyone is.

Writers: Juan Rulfo, Cervantes, Raymond Carver, William Faulkner, and F. García Lorca.
Thinkers: Emil Cioran, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Georges Bataille, and Zygmunt Bauman.
Painters: Velázquez, Murillo, Goya, Hopper, Monet, Paul Klee, and German Expressionism (Nolde, Kirchner).
Photographers: Sergio Larrain, Cristina García Rodero, Gervasio Sánchez, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Fan-Ho, André Kertész, Saul Leiter, Vivian Maier, Garry Winogrand, Aart Klein, Daido Moriyama, and Markus Hartel.

TPL: Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?

AC: Of course, I no longer shoot with my eyes closed.

TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?

AC: Any place is good to do it: the bustling streets of a city or the calm ones of a town, the cement or the grass, the sea or the mountain. I mean, I don't dream of going to New York, London or Tokyo.

TPL: Do you think equipment is important in achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone just starting out?

AC: Of course. "Photography is manipulation" (Hans Magnus Enzensberger). An iPhone is not the same as a Leica S3. This means your use will determine part of the result. Of course, this does not mean that a Leica S3 turns you into a Cartier-Bresson overnight. My experience is brief, therefore, the only thing I can say to someone who starts is: love what you do and remember, as Cartier-Bresson said, "that your first ten thousand photos are your worst photos".

TPL: What characteristics do you think you need to become a photographer? What’s your tips or advice for someone in your genre?

AC: ​​For street photography I would like to be invisible. For another type of photography I would need all the time in the world; but I have other responsibilities.

TPL: ​​Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?

AC: In my youth I wrote poetry. The most I achieved was winning the poetry contest organized every year by the University where I studied. Fortunately, someone very special took Hermes' winged sandals from me and I discovered the pleasure of walking barefoot on earth.

TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?

AC: I don't work on projects. I only take photos. I would like each photo I take to be unique, independent, capable of conveying some emotion or idea without having to embed it into a coherent whole. I don't know, maybe when I retire I will try.

TPL: If I wasn't photographing what would I be doing?...

AC: In my case, the last question would be the following: if you weren't working, what would you be doing?