October 21, 2020
WHAT STRIKES A CHORD
Photography by Jose Marco Lull
Interview by Melanie Meggs
With a camera in hand, Jose Marco Lull has been on a journey of visual exploration for more than three decades. Since the early days of taking photographs of friends and family and capturing the beauty of his travels, he has developed a keen eye for detail and spontaneity. After a break from photography, Lull has returned to his passion with an enthusiasm for street photography, immersing himself into the bustling hustle of big city streets and uncovering the unique stories and characters that lie beneath its surface. Now based in Valencia, Spain, Lull is a self-taught photographer whose work is focused on capturing the spirit of the people and places he visits, one frame at a time.
“The human element. I try to include it in almost all my photographs. Photography for me is life, and the human element makes it even more alive.”
IN CONVERSATION WITH JOSE MARCO LULL
TPL: Jose please tell us more about yourself. When did you start getting in to photography?
JML: I am a 57-year-old self-taught amateur photographer living in Valencia. Until the age of 40 I was working in photo labs and doing some reportages on my own. Now I work as a civil servant in the Valencian Government Administration. I bought my first camera at age 20, a second-hand Nikon F2 that I still have and since then I have been taking photos, mostly travel photography, nature and some underwater photography as well. The switch to digital photography was a bit traumatic for me and I did not take photos for several years. Later in 2016 I bought a Fuji X series and started doing street photography, something that I had always liked but never done until then. Now it is almost the only genre that I practice.
TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?
JML: There is nothing in particular that is my source of inspiration. I see a lot of photography, the internet, books, exhibitions...I guess it is a mixture of all those impressions that remain in my head.
TPL: Is there anything you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?
JML: I don't want to express anything in particular with my photography. I think that a good photo is the one that causes an impact, a strong emotional reaction in the viewer, be it laughter, grief, guilt, astonishment...if I succeed, I am satisfied.
TPL: Do you prefer to shoot alone or with friends?
JML: I prefer to go out to take photos alone, you are more focused on what you do. Photography is like a form of meditation for me. You go out into the street and your mind stops thinking, you are only attentive to what is happening around you and you try to capture the moment where everything comes together. Although sometimes it is good to have someone with you, sometimes you go unnoticed if you are in company.
TPL: Who are your favourite artists and photographers?
JML: I have been inspired by many authors but especially the "classics", Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Elliott Erwitt (I love Erwitt) Robert Frank, Vivian Maier, Jill Freedman...the great documentary maker Sebastiao Salgado...an endless list! Spaniards like Ramón Masat, Pérez-Siquier, García Rodero, Koldo Chamorro...And photographers that I have discovered on Instagram such as Vineet Vohra, Cedric Roux, Eric Kogan, Nina Kling, Ximena Echague, Felicia Olivares...
Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde
TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?
JML: Although "everything can be photographed" and inspiration can arise anywhere, my favourite place is the streets of big cities. I like that mix of diverse people and the great amount of stimuli that you have around you in a big city.
TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length? What would you say to someone wanting to start out in your genre of photography?
JML: I use Fuji X series cameras. I like them because of the lightness and quality of their lenses. I also like its vintage style. My favourite focal length (in full frame equivalent) is 50 mm. It allows me to be further away from the scene and not disturb the moment, I prefer to go unnoticed, but I also use the 28 mm when I need it.
I would advise someone starting out in street photography to always carry a camera with them, a small one with a fixed lens (I try to always carry my X100T with me), and to look at a lot of photography, painting, cinema, etc., and not to try to copy anyone, being yourself.
TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
JML: I don't have any projects in mind. I am not much of a planner. I go out and photograph what at that moment "strikes a chord". Maybe later I can put together several photographs and form something that works as a whole. But I am not saying that in the future I will not (have a project).
TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?
JML: My goal as an artist is to feel good about myself doing what I do and try to make others enjoy it. I do not try to transmit or tell anything with my photographs, I simply show the beauty of the everyday, of ordinary people, of those moments or instants that go unnoticed in the eyes of most people and that photography has the power to freeze in time and thus is able to show.
In five years I hope to be taking better photos than now, and publishing a book would be nice, but I think that will take more than five years.
TPL: "When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…
JML: I usually train Aikido, an international martial art to keep the mind relaxed and the body active."