MEET THE ARTIST
-How long have you lived in Berlin?
At the time of writing this, I have been living in Berlin for a bit over 2 ½ years.
-Was there a certain moment when you decided Berlin is your home?
Not really. Even though at the moment I intend on living in Berlin indefinitely, for some reason I don’t imagine myself living here forever, therefore I wouldn’t call this place “mine”. On the other hand, I have to admit I’m not against the idea of staying here either, so I guess for the time being nothing is written in stone.
-Do you find your creative practices have been influenced by living in Berlin? (your technique, themes, aesthetic, process of developing etc.)
100% YES. I would attribute this to a couple of different things which are all correlated. Due to the fast paced lifestyle I have here, I was forced to adjust my approach to photography in some instances.. My regular trusty film SLR suddenly became too cumbersome and slow for the photography opportunities I started encountering in everyday life. I started looking into different types of cameras I could use to better accommodate these opportunities and found what I was looking for in the world of rangefinder cameras. After playing around with a couple of them I landed on what is my favourite rangefinder at the moment, the beautiful Yashica Electro 35 CC. As the name implies, it is a fixed focal 35mm lens camera that shoots aperture priority and has a very bright and sharp lens for the price. It is fairly light and compact considering how old this camera is (1970s).
Since cameras in general are a lot more affordable here than they were back where I come from, I also got myself a medium format camera to further expand my creative capabilities. I don’t want to give the impression that gear is everything: I certainly do not think this is the case. But I do believe that trying different “breeds” of cameras can help improve one’s creative ideas.
I have also learned that sometimes less is much more, and this is why I often limit myself to bring only one camera along and therefore have less options to distract me in the field.
-Which parts of the city do you feel more familiar with/inspire you more?
I feel more familiar being in Kreuzberg—which is the neighbourhood I live in—Friedrichshain and Neukölln. I often can be found around these areas, since most of my friends, bars, clubs, cafes, etc, are there and therefore it’s where I spend most of my time.
The parts of the city that inspire me the most are those secluded, quiet, random places you can find all over the city. Since I live in quite a hectic area of the city I naturally find myself inclined to look for some peace and quiet. Many times I go out for walks and I go looking for those streets that nobody goes into, or those areas that are “islands” between two frequented areas… In other words, I love exploring the city outside of the beaten path.
During the time I have lived here I came to a conclusion, for me, Berlin is a beautiful city but it’s not the obvious type of beauty you usually find in other European cities. In fact, my first impression of Berlin was not very good and only after some time of living here and exploring the city on my own did I change my mind to the point I was surprised I could not see it in the beginning.
-Where is home?
When trying to answer this question I find myself a bit torn…
I think “home” will always be home to me, at least while my family and the house I grew up in stays in the same place, that will be home. I was lucky to grow up with a stable family unit, supportive and in a somewhat quiet city. When I think of “home” I think of my childhood and not only the physical place of where it’s located, and when I think of my childhood I feel it was the kind of childhood I hope to give to my kids one day if I ever have any. This train of thought leads me to my second answer.
I think someone can have more than one “home” that maybe just serve different purposes. Berlin is serving a purpose to me at the moment and therefore I have made it a home as well.
Iván – 30 years old – Born in Neuquen, Patagonia Argentina.
Became interested in photography about 10 years ago when he uncovered his parents old film camera and began learning through trial and error. To this day Iván practices film photography only as a hobby, he has considered taking a more “professional” approach to it but for the time being he’s content with it being just a way of passing time and channeling creative energy.