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June 7, 2021



Photography by Eduardo Ortiz
Interview by Melanie Meggs

Eduardo Ortiz is a cook and street photographer from Valparaiso, Chile. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, Eduardo lost his job, and with it, his sponsor to stay in Sweden. Among the few countries open for tourism at that time, Turkey stood out as the best option for Eduardo. Without hesitation, he booked a flight from Stockholm to Istanbul. What started as a simple way to escape, evolved into a deep love for this country. Eduardo approaches photography with curiosity about life and his love of light. Travelling taught him to embrace light and shadow, and to feel deeply the influence it has had on his way of seeing and approaching the world.

TPL: Eduardo please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?

EO: I am a thirty-year old music teacher, street/documentary photographer and cook born in Los Angeles, Chile. Although I grew up in San Antonio I considerer Valparaiso to be the place where I woke up as an artist. It was in Valparaiso, the most cultural city in Chile, where I studied music and met artists of different disciplines from all corners of Chile. Now, I am currently living in Istanbul, a perfect playground to keep growing as a photographer.

When I finished my career I felt that traveling was going to be the best way for me to keep learning and growing as a human being. At present, I haven't been back to Chile in almost 5 years, and lived and worked in countries such as Morocco, Sweden, Germany, France, among others.

While travelling I felt the need of sharing what I was seeing on my trips with my people back in Chile. Little by little I fell in love with the art of photography and began to study the "rules", concepts such as balance, composition, etc. I tried all kinds of photography and then gradually became more and more interested in street photography. Now it is the sort of photography that best suits my way to see and approach the world.

TPL: You shared your series of images called 'Pamukkale' for your portfolio. Tell us more about this. What inspired the concept? How did you approach producing the series...why black and white over colour?

EO: Pamukkale is a place that gave me that feeling of "I am right where I should be", It felt something I would describe as a long "deja-vu", a feeling of "there is nowhere else I wish I was instead".

Not long before being there I lost my job due to the outbreak and lost my visa to stay longer in Europe. At that time, Turkey presented as one of the few countries still open for tourism. When I got to Pamukkale, to my surprise, days of masks and restrictions seemed long forgotten. Covid-19, for me and those present, was merely a fragment of a nightmare. It was a normal day, with a surreal touch.

I approached this series as I approach photography in general, with curiosity about life and my love of light. I chose black and white in this series to highlight even more the surrealism of Pamukkale. Pamukkale means "cotton castle" in Turkish, a name that I found spot-on, choosing a monochromatic colour scheme helps the viewer to easily imagine the cotton likeness of the salt piles. And last and not least, people usually dream in black and white, suppressing the colours helps to emphasize even more the oneiric quality of this place.

TPL: Where do you find inspiration to create?

EO: I find myself often chasing light and interesting moments, elements that can be found anywhere.

TPL: What do you want people to remember about your photography?

EO: I want people to remember that there is beauty everywhere.

TPL: When you take pictures, do you usually have a concept in mind of what you want to shoot, or do you let the images just "come to you", or is it both? Describe your process.

EO: I usually try to go out with an idea or concept in mind beforehand, It might be something I want to express in particular or a series. Although I sometimes have no option but to let the images come to me, in that case, I just improvise.

TPL: Do you have a favourite place to go photograph?

EO: Hard question, how could I possibly choose one? I tend to show preference to places based on their mood or atmosphere. Pamukkale captured me because in a moment of fear and distance there seemed to be one bubble of the world unaffected.

TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us?

EO: I do, among my favourites, there are photographers like Ernst Haas, Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Alex Webb, Fan-Ho, Fred Herzog, Saul Leiter, to name a few. I also find inspiration in painters such as Joaquin Sorolla, Claude Monet, Emile Claus, Guillaume Van Strydonck, among others.

TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

EO: I think the equipment doesn't matter till it matters. I use Fujifilm cameras for their size and shooting experience. I have an x-pro2, an x-e3 and an x-e2, all of them suit my way of shooting, at the same time their size makes them way less intrusive than any full-frame DSLR for example. Also, the dials help me to easily set the triangle exposure.

I mainly use 18mm, 35mm and 90mm (28mm, 50mm and 135mm full-frame equivalent approximately). 28mm is by far my favourite focal length, leave me on a desert island with it and I will still be happy.

TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

EO: My current goal is to learn to monetize my photography work. I hope that in five years I will be able to make a living out of my passion and will have seen many more places and cultures.

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

EO: I am currently working on series about life in Istanbul.

TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…

EO: I like to play music, learning languages, studying photography and wandering around."