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Retro Kolkata Exclusive : Interview with Award Winning Portrait Photographer Emilio Barrionuevo

© Emilio Barrionuevo
Emilio Barrionuevo, an award winning amazing photographer from Spain has shared his story with Retro Kolkata. His specialty is dramatic portrait.Fantasy has always been present in his stunning works. He always look for something different that gives him the option to immortalize them.

RK : Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, We’re excited to have you. Let’s have a jump into the past. What first attracted you to photography?

Emilio Barrionuevo :Like every photographer, when he/she starts experimenting with several styles until he finds the right one for him, in my case also, I had started with urban photos and then I changed styles, I went through fashion photography, today I dedicate myself to the portrait.

RK :Does photography come easily to you? Were you ever unsure of your talents?

Emilio Barrionuevo :It was difficult for something like portrait photography, it is difficult to get the true essence of a person outside and sometimes I feel unable to do it but one way or another you have to make the person feel comfortable to achieve it.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :What are your favorite genres of Photography?Why do you like monochrome?

Emilio Barrionuevo :I really enjoy doing portraits and I will tell you that getting an emotion out of a person and discovering one's true self is gratifying. I like the black & white, because it transmits intimacy, increases human emotion and allows you to delve deeper inside.

RK :What are you looking for when you have a camera in your hands? What type of camera, lenses and lighting equipment do you use?

Emilio Barrionuevo :The camera is a working tool, it will not bother you and mostly when you work with the camera has to go to the background, the essential is what is in front of the camera. My work team is simple, I work with a single flash light (profoto) and a translucent umbrella, a Canon 5DS and a fixed lens (Carl Zeiss Milvus 85mm) that is manual.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :Your monochrome photos convey lots of depth and often reveal deeper stories. How do you decide which moments to capture?

Emilio Barrionuevo : When it comes to portraying, for me, the story behind the face is very important and that is why I usually talk a lot with the person, try to make him feel comfortable in front of the camera and see me as a friend, then it is the right moment to portray.

RK :What has been your most inspiring encounter since you began your photography journey?

Emilio Barrionuevo :It was the day when I met a person who lived on the street and that day marked a before and after in my photography style. I knew I had to portray him, that man had inspired me to do it and I was captivated by his story.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :Every picture of yours seems to be a well thought of creation. We would like to know what goes into the conceptualizing process of every frame you decide to create ?

Emilio Barrionuevo :While creating an emotional portrait,I have to find out not only the story of his eyes, but also the gestures, how he moves and how he expresses his stories. It is a team work that takes time to prepare and I go with some ideas of what I am looking for but many times everything changes on the fly.

RK : Your photography is so inspiring and you create such beautiful art. We especially love the expressions you capture. Would you like to share some of your favorite tips for photographing such amazing expressions.

Emilio Barrionuevo :I really do not have a specific technique to take a good portraiture, they just come at the right time, you have to engage by a special complicity with the person, make him special and that is you see the protagonist of your movie, have a lot of patience, sometimes I do sessions at the end and the material do not come out as per my expectation, so you have to relax and make everything go well.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :What do you consider to be the axis of your work – technically and conceptually? Emilio Barrionuevo :It is true that good lighting is important as I said before that I work with a small team but when you want to get an emotion from a face, several determining factors influence (lighting, framing, composition, post production), We have to work in team to achieve the goal.

RK :What photo are you most proud of?

Emilio Barrionuevo : There are many but you ask me to choose one, I will select "The man with the sad smile"

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :In your opinion, what are some of the qualities that make some photographic portraits stand out and apart from ordinary photos of people? Can you offer some examples of great photo portraits that hold power for you?

Emilio Barrionuevo :There are a lot of amazing photographers but if I have to highlight some, there are three that have marked a before and after in the portrait, Irving Peen, Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh, many of their portraits are iconic and true works of the Photography. Many photographers currently follow their lines.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :Do you feel that photographer need to build a relationship with their subjects or do they need to remain detached?

Emilio Barrionuevo :Totally agree with the opinion that the photographers have to create an emotional and special bond with the photographed, if there is no connection, a good portrait can not be made.

RK :You have received a lot of awards from high profile contests including IPOTY 2017, Double honorable mention in Monochrome Awards 2017, Lux Award 2017 etc. As per you, What’s important in order to develop an own photographic voice ?

Emilio Barrionuevo :In my case, I had to work hard to create my own style, a personal b / w and a way of portraying in which I feel comfortable with what I do. I do emotional portrait where people who look at my work , can feel identified by the emotions they convey.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :Do you have any advice for photographers who are just starting out?

Emilio Barrionuevo :The only advice I can give that, love what you do and especially focus only on being happy when doing a job, that is paramount, not to decline.

© Emilio Barrionuevo

RK :We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers. Emilio Barrionuevo :It’s wonderful what you do and also very important, the fact of uniting races and breaking borders through art and culture It is the main thing to make a world much more humanized. I encourage everyone to follow RETRO KOLKATA because thanks to them and to many more who creates a significant artistic bond that unites us without creating barriers. Thank you all.

© Emilio Barrionuevo


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We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 'AURA 2024 - The International Photography & Art Exhibition and Grand Felicitation Ceremony', following the resounding success of last year's event. This prestigious gathering will be held at Kolkata's renowned 'Nazrul Tirtha' Art Gallery (Action Area I, Newtown, Kolkata 700156) from January 13 to January 21, 2024. The event promises an international stage for artists and photographers handpicked globally to display their masterpieces alongside the mesmerizing works of esteemed artists from over 25 participating countries, all under the spotlight of national media.

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