From the serene shores of Costa Brava to bustling galleries in Korea, Joan Carol has engraved his indelible mark in the realm of photography. His unique intertwining of the five elements in his photos speaks a language that transcends borders. Today, we sit down with Joan to delve deeper into the man behind the lens, his inspirations, and his journey.
Retro Kolkata : Joan, your journey in photography started with a gift in your early childhood. Can you share with us how that gift has shaped your life and profession?
Joan : I got my first camera when I was only nine years old. From that very first moment, a whole new world of possibilities was put right in front of me, a place where I could develop all my creativity. Every moment, every adventure, every trip or even when I just went to meet my friends, I always had my camera with me so I could capture every moment, every small but special detail. I was always looking for that different perspective, that perfect but different point of view to find tthe best photography. I never thought of photography as a way to make a living, it never even felt like I was working because it came from passion, but time has thought me how wrong I was. It’s not always easy and it’s very hard work, but I couldn’t be happier for everything that I have achieved up until now, and to call photography my profession.
Retro Kolkata : From Palamós to international exhibits in Korea and beyond, your work has reached far and wide. How have these different cultures and environments influenced your art and vision?
Joan : Nowadays I still have to stop for a second, breathe and take in everything that I get to experience daily. I’m really amazed with all the messages I receive every day from people around the world. But, if I am honest, I don’t think that has ever affected or influenced my way to create or imagine in photography, I am still that kid playing with his camera, looking to share my emotions and feeling through a picture, and at the end of the day, those feelings and emotions are universal.
Retro Kolkata : Your photographs are often described as an ode to the five elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. Can you tell us more about this theme and why you chose it?
Joan : I was born and raised, and I still live in a coast town in a place called Costa Brava. It is famous for its waters and strong winds, and that has been a strong influence since day one. The search to share through elements has always been innate in me and it’s been perfect to use as a channel to reach more people, express my art and to connect with them and with what I want to show.
Retro Kolkata : In your photos, fire, sea, air, and earth intermingle in a unique way. Can you elaborate on the process of incorporating these elements into your works, and the challenges you face while doing so?
Joan : There is always a challenge. You can’t control the elements and you never know if that take or that idea is going to be possible even if it will work. There is always 50% of uncertainty when you work with real and natural elements. I have to be honest, there has been plenty of ideas that I had to give up because they made sense in my mind but when we tried them, it just didn’t work out. That can be really frustrating most of the time, but I understand those are the rules as well as the magic of the game we are playing.
Retro Kolkata : Your objective is to capture the beauty of the deepest feelings and emotions of the soul. Could you share a few instances where you feel you achieved this and the story behind those photographs?
Joan : I don’t think I am the right person to answer this question. Most of the messages I get are from people who want to share their feelings or experiences that came from my pictures. I am very lucky and grateful for that, it brings me more motivation to keep working hard and try to reach and touch more people with my work.
Retro Kolkata : The press and internet have played a significant role in the international recognition of your work. How do you feel about the role of these platforms in promoting art and photography?
Joan : It’s a bit overwhelming sometimes, in a good way. Exhibitions of my work, press articles and interviews. The internet has helped small local artists to reach any corner of the world pretty easily and I will always be eternally grateful to the role they’ve played in promoting my photographs.
Retro Kolkata : As an artist, how have you evolved over time and how have your experiences shaped your current artistic style?
Joan : An artist needs to be constantly evolving. Researching, trying and failing until you can find your own ways, your own style, is the only way to grow. To be able to find your own method, that way to work that makes you feel comfortable, is a blessing, but even then, the artist still needs to continue researching, trying, failing and growing, the learning process can never stop.
Retro Kolkata : Your photos create a thousand stories in the eyes of the observer. How important is the viewer's interpretation to you and what do you hope they take away from your art?
Joan : The most beautiful thing about creating stories and express feelings and emotions is that every person will feel it as their own. I will never impose an interpretation of my work. What makes it unique and rich is that every person will see it with their own eyes, from their own point of view and from their own experiences.
Retro Kolkata : You had your first big international break in Korea. Can you share some memorable experiences from that journey and how it has impacted your career?
Joan :I still can’t believe they dedicated an exhibition to me. Seeing your work in a large room, frequently visited, in a room of a large format or in various places around the city felt surreal to me. I am very grateful for the opportunity that a country that far away from mine gave to an artist like me.
Retro Kolkata : Finally, can you tell us about your upcoming projects or ideas that you're currently exploring? What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Joan : I don’t usually share the next projects, I always prefer to keep the early stages to myself until I am sure they can become real. What I can say for now is that the next chapter is really exciting for me and it will be a dream coming true.
Joan Carol's journey is one of passion, perseverance, and a constant quest for meaning. As we see the world through his eyes, we are reminded of the universal emotions and stories that bind us. As Joan continues to explore and create, one can only anticipate with bated breath the next chapter of his story, knowing that it will, without a doubt, be another captivating ode to both the elements and human spirit.