I'm so very happy to of seen so much work from very young artists! It fills my heart with happiness to find other creatives that have a passion at such a young age! Welcome Elias! :)
|"The Kindness of Strangers"|
My name is Elias Ruiz Monserrat, I come from Spain but have been living in the UK for the last 6 years. I am 18 years old and currently on my last year at college (in the UK we refer to high school as college). I've actually never stopped to think what category best suits my photography but I’d say it’s more conceptual and artistic than anything else.
I can’t really remember the exact reason of why I got into photography, none of my family members are artists and wasn't really influenced by anyone I knew. I've always been into drawing and art as well as into technology and everything around it (I guess I could call myself a bit of a geek…) and found photography to be the cross over of these two worlds. I was about 14 and wanted a camera so one day I went with my mum to Argos and bought a camera that looked all right for £40 (about $60), it was Pentax compact camera believe. I remember getting very frustrated at the camera because it wasn't picking up exactly what could I see with my eyes so I did some research on the internet and found out about DSLRs, with the money I got from Christmas the next year I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 1100D. It then was only a matter of time that I would discover the endless possibilities of Photoshop, there was only one thing, I had no idea on how to use the camera or Photoshop and had no one I could get help from so I just kept on watching and reading tutorials on the internet. If I was born about 10 or 15 year earlier where digital photography wasn't what it’s today, I’m not sure I would have gotten into it.
3. What inspires your photographs?
I wouldn't say I have a main inspiration source or some sort of muse, but I have been heavily inspired by music, in fact most of my photos are titled after songs or music albums. From my point of view my photographs are purely based on aesthetics, I don’t try to communicate the way I feel through them, they weren't created based on a feeling or an emotion, I leave that to the viewer so they can interpret them any way they like.
4.Where are some of your favorite places to shoot?
Loughborough, which is where I live, is surrounded by green areas and small woods and luckily enough for me, my house is only a 5-minute walk away from one of these woods. There is something about that place that inspires me, I’m not really sure what it is but every time I go there I seem to come out with an idea for a photo or an actual photo.
5.Do you like to photograph other things, or just your main work?
I’m only 18 and haven’t really had the chance to try many things but other than the work I usually do, I really enjoy doing music photography.
It sounds cliché but I’d say it’s my latest photo, this seems to happen every time I take a new picture. I’ve seen so many times my old ones that they end up becoming boring to my eyes.
7. What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, when I take photos I don’t try to convey a specific feeling. For me, a photo is successful when different people see different emotions and meanings on the same image.
8. What gear do you use? What's your most used lens and why?
To be honest, the only reason why I bought the 1100D I used to work with was the price, it was the cheapest DSLR I could find. I then bought a couple of lenses and when I was ready to upgrade my camera the logical step seemed to be to get another Canon so I could still use all my lenses. My current camera is a Canon EOS 60D and the lens that is always on the camera is a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 because of its versatility and wide aperture, however, when I know exactly what photo I want, not much light is available or want an extreme shallow depth of filed I use the Canon 50mm f/1.8.
9. Who would you say is your favorite photographer? Why?
With no doubt my favorite photographer is Alex Currie, I became aware of his work last November and since then my photos have seen a drastic improvement on quality. I find his work is simple and yet intimate, dark and sometimes even very emotional. He has been like a model to follow for me, I was amazed by the quality of his work and knowing that he is the same age as me made want to work even harder to get to his level. Another photographer that I admire is Robert Cornelius, to me, he is the best Photoshop artist I have ever seen, his work is just stunning. My dream is to be able to produce pictures of the technical complexity level of Robert’s work mixed with that intimacy feeling that Alex manages to get on his photographs.
|"On My Way Up"|
Actually yes, before I discovered Alex Currie’s work I always use to complain that all my friends were too shy to model and had no one that I could take photos of, but after seeing his work that stopped being a problem and actually became something good, that’s when I started taking more self portraits and since then I have been the main subject on most of my photos.
11. Do you plan on doing anything with your photography or do you shoot just for fun?
Next year I am going to start a degree in Industrial Design at university, I don’t like planning out my future and taking for granted what is going to happen but I know is very hard for someone as young as me with hardly any experience to make a living out of it. At the moment my photography is not getting me any money, I’m doing it for the love of art, but if I see a chance of making some cash I definitely will.
12. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?
Yes, I can’t remember where I got it from but it’s a quote by Alfred Stieglitz. “Wherever there is light, one can photograph.” The way I interpret this is that a photograph is not based on the equipment we have or how good the environmental conditions that we have available are, we rely on what we make out of what we have, it sort of reminds me of the famous quote “If live gives you lemons, make lemonade”.
13. What is one experience from shoots that you will always remember?
To be honest all of my shoots have been pretty boring but there was one time that I was taking photos of a field (which was private land and therefore I was trespassing) that the farmer caught me and threatened to shoot me with an air rifle if I ever came back again.
Never give up, no matter how bad you think you are everyone was as bad if not worst than you. The only was to get better is to keep on trying and experimenting news things. You’ll eventually get there.
15. Any final words you'd like to say?
I haven’t mentioned it but I also “work” for a local online magazine based in Leicester called The Jitty (www.thejitty.com). There’s only two people running the website and do an incredible job at giving young people the chance to put in practice any skills related to journalism, I mainly do gig photography and occasionally write gig reviews too. It’s a charity funded by the Leicestershire county council aimed at and ran by young people between 13-18 years old.
Thank you so much Elias for this interview! I have definitely had my share of people telling me they would shoot me if I came near their place, even if I wan't on their property - haha. Some people just don't understand. They think every kid is just out to destroy everyone's property and cause issues. That's definitely not always the case, not with me at least and I'm assuming not with you either. It kind of makes me laugh at other people's reactions when I'm out and about doing my photography.