Interview: RODRIGO CHAPA
October 16th, 2021
Tell us about yourself
I have lived and worked from my own studio in Mexico City for the past 4 years.
I’ve been taking photographs since I can remember. I also studied design, which has a great influence in my vision and process.
What inspired you to get into photography?
It’s almost an instinct. I have some pictures that I used to take with an old toy film camera. They’re so old, that I don't even remember taking them. They’re mostly of my other toys staged in different spots in my childhood bedroom. Apparently staging and photographing things has been a part of me for as long as I’ve had the tools to do it.
Film or Digital? Why?
I have always preferred film for my personal work. The main reason is it has a quality in its texture and colours that haven't yet been replicated by digital cameras. I also find the process to be more enjoyable: the gear, the time it takes, the thrill.
Has your practice changed over time?
I think as I grow as a photographer, my capabilities expand. I ran into an old friend the other day, one whom I used to work with many years ago and when she saw my studio she started laughing. She said the things I used to do when we were in school, with cardboard and paper, in 30 cm or so sets, are now big sets you could walk around in.
Describe your creative process?
I always start with paper and pencil. I draw a couple of form explorations and then I make a more detailed digital sketch. I’ve been sketching on a grid for the last couple of years. Then we translate that sketch to a three dimensional set. We find the nearest paint colours, the sizes of things, and then build them in the studio.
What are the key elements that you search for when taking a photograph?
I always search for beauty. The forms that we relate to the most, and the body poses that are most pleasing to the eye motivate me. I find a lot of inspiration in paintings. The abstract expressionists in particular.
Is there a theme in your work?
Beauty and expression.
Are there any upcoming projects that you are currently working on? Can you tell us about them?
I’ve been shooting for some new series, but what's taking up most of my time right now is a book I’ve been working on together with some really talented designers. Hopefully I will have some printed copies soon!
Name 3 artists you admire most?
It's difficult to name only three — I’ll leave too many out! But three that I’ve been thinking about recently:
Rineke Dijkstra - She knows how to be subtle like no one else.
Mark Rothko - Very expressive with very few elements.
Sebastiao Salgado - His relation to photography and sensitivity to his subjects.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Get your hands on as many books as you can.
For you, what role does art play in society?
The role art plays in a society doesn’t really interest me much. I rather focus on how it makes you feel as an individual.