INTERVIEW

December 3, 2020

NETHERLANDS NOSTALGIA

IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSÉ LUIS BLACH LEYENDA

Photography by José Luis Blach Leyenda
Interview by Melanie Meggs

For José Luis Blach Leyenda, every small improvement in his photography is a win to him. José is an autodidact living in the Netherlands who only just started photography a few years ago when he picked up a camera seeking to capture the nostalgia of the streets and its architecture.

"Life hasn’t no limitations, except the ones you make."

TPL: Jose please tell us about yourself. When did you start getting interested in photography?

JLBL: I have a technical background and work in a Medical Device Company. My interests have always been on Architecture, Interior Design and History (Civilizations). Photography has always been there as a kind of nostalgia of the film days when my father shot on film.

About four years ago I went to Japan Tokyo on vacation and bought myself an Olympus OMD EM5 with a 35mm and a telephoto lens 175mm to capture my summer vacation and was curious to experience it through photography. I was a little overwhelmed by Tokyo as a street photography city with all its lights and buzzing streets. I was shooting on full automatic because at that point hadn’t figured out the triangle of photography as well as metering and more technical stuff that I wasn’t at that point much familiar.

TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?

JLBL: From interior magazines, architecture buildings, museums and by watching the streets and absorbing all kind of fields. I have always been interested in art actually.

TPL: Is there anything particular you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?

JLBL: I try to let the photography speak by itself or at least give an expression that characterize my photography. Let others judge...

It can be a moment a spot or a subject passing by and frame it to make the overhaul an interesting perspective. Freeze the moment!

TPL: Are there any books that you have read that have inspired your creativity and that you would like to recommend to us?

JLBL: I live at The Hague in the Netherlands and visit several times the Escher Museum and read the Escher journals by the graphic Dutch artist.

TPL: Do you prefer to photograph alone or with friends?

JLBL: Prefer to shoot alone and concentrate on the street commuters and random people that I find interesting or shooting architecture and trying to find lights and shadows that can add more to it.

TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers?

JLBL: Fan Ho has an amazing style of shooting and I casually got his name from a YouTube channel about photography and Hong Kong that I was following.

TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?

JLBL: Rotterdam because of its modern architecture...London City for its small streets and alleys against high buildings, the Brutalism buildings and the vibe on the streets...Berlin with its mix of modern and old buildings, museums and also the mixture of pop culture and people...Oporto because of its modern mixed with old...Santiago de Compostela in Spain especially the impressive Gaia’s Center Museum, an architecture masterpiece of multiple buildings and granite shapes on top of Mt. Gaia. By the way, an architecture photography must see.

TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?

JLBL: A few years I wanted to change my Olympus OMD and decided after watching reviews on the Fujifilm X system and was quite excited about its handling with the dedicated buttons and the sensor of the X Pro 1 and the well known film simulations. It's a tool but actually I like the handling very much .

I started with a 23mm f2.0 and tried to frame a story and then switched to a 58mm Optic Meyer new lens with a vintage look for street . Now I have a telephoto R mount lens 135mm with an adapter to try minimalistic architecture and experience something different and have another perspective of shooting .

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

JLBL: Improve my skills and find consistency on my work and try to see photography from different angles and perspectives.

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

JLBL: Like to read biographies and also about Ancient Rome civilization as visit museums and archeological sites if I am on a short vacations."