Interview: Photographer Cayetano Gonzalez (Spain)
Can you tell us a little about you?
My Name is Cayetano Gonzalez. I’m based in Barcelona and I work mostly as a Photographer and Director/DOP, but I also teach visual arts in different universities and I host my own workshops.
How and when did you get into photography?
I’ve always wanted to be a painter, like my grandfather. During High School I had the opportunity to work on a short film for one of the courses, I will never forget the day I got that video camera. It felt so natural that I realized that that’s what I had to do in life. Later on my grandfather lent me his Leica and before realizing it I was already working as a photographer.
What does photography mean to you?
This is something I always ask during my classes. A lot of us work as photographers but spend little or no time thinking about what photography is at what it means to us.
For me it has a lot to do with magic, we have to fake stories and people have to believe them. It’s about the process of writing a story and making it possible.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I definitely want to create a mood. I love painting with light, and I love psychology, It feels great to work with people and create portraits. But what I really want is to tell stories, and I want those to be alive, to evolve. I fear repetition because for me It’s the same as death. I make sure those fantasies I create come from my persona, from my actual state of mind and context, not from others. This way my style and direction will be constantly evolving.
Where do you get inspiration from?
I find inspiration from nature, film, paintings, photography… I think inspiration is all around us, It’s your mind that has to be open and curious enough to see it.
I can say I find inspiration in beauty, and for me beauty has to be undiscovered, different and special.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
I often say that “I take the picture before the shoot”. I choose the model, the clothing, location, style, light… I believe that’s about 80% of the image, then of course you have to frame it and be ready for problems or setbacks during the shoot. That said, I always like to improvise and be open to new ideas. I often take risks and make mistakes.
Studio, on location or both?
I’m comfortable with both, but I do prefer natural things. I love nature, architecture and natural light. So you can get an idea.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Both. I remember years ago, when I started, I had a conversation with my uncle. He told me that if I wanted to be a professional photographer, I should forget about looking at it as a hobby. Of course I’m stubborn, and I said to myself that if I was going to be in this, it had to be both, a hobby and a profession.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
I remember one photo shoot I fell from the second floor of a penthouse to the first floor (while I was taking a photo), I fell on top of the counter and I literally destroyed my friends kitchen. I don’t think I will ever forget that. I had bruises all around and my arm was bleeding. I still have the scar.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
Both would do. I shoot with different cameras and different lenses. I use Canon for digital, but not because I think it’s better.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
Don't compare yourself to others. Luck and context play a big role, but you can’t rely on them. Knowledge also plays a big role. Study and practice. Then break the rules. Your style is unique, and if It’s not, It’s because you still need to learn. Believe in yourself. A lot of people won’t. Try to keep a beginner’s mindset, be humble, you will learn more. Study culture. Make mistakes, make a lot of them. Enjoy the ride, because it will be long.