Interview with Pedro Vicente.
Director of the Master’s Degree in Photography and Design of ELISAVA, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.
Master & Curator
Mobile phones enable most people today to have a camera readily at hand, and as such, the possibility to instantly capture moments of the world around us. Technology has brought photography to the masses. Many people are self-taught in the discipline, others receive training in specialised centres of study. We met with Pedro Vicente, Director of the Master’s Degree in Photography and Design at one of the most important schools in Barcelona.
What is the story behind your relationship with photography, and just how important is it to you on an emotional level? And practically?
Photography means everything to me. At the age of 34 and with a professional career as an editor for children’s literature, I decided to dedicate myself to my true passion, photography. I left everything to travel to London and study a degree in photography. Just as I had finished my studies at the University for the Creative Arts, I was offered a position as a professor in the theory and history of photography, and so I stayed for six years teaching in England. It was there that I began my academic career in the field of photography. Since then I have been lucky enough to work in what I most love; writing and thinking about photography.
What exactly is ELISAVA? What is your role, and how long have you been there?
ELISAVA is one of the most prominent schools in Europe, and pioneering in the studies of Design and Engineering. The centre is a part of the Universidad Pompeu Fabra, and promotes education, knowledge, research, development and innovation in design, engineering and communication. Training is offered at university level to prepare students professionally, and on an international scale, and encourages the relationships between our community and companies, institutions and society, whilst remaining loyal to transformation and growth within a forever-changing world.
I have worked as the Director of the Master’s Degree in Photography and Design at ELISAVA since 2008.
…a good photograph moves you, it makes you feel in a particular way, and whatever that might be, it provokes a reaction in the viewer.
As well as your role as Director, what other subjects do you cover in class?
The theory and history of photography, photographic language and photographic projects.
What is the general profile of students of the Master’s Degree in Photography?
Our students are graduates of different disciplines, who are looking for training in photographic creativity, both technically, practically and theoretically, and who wish to use photography, not only as a working tool, but as an effective way to communicate their personal ideas and concepts.
What does ELISAVA offer in the training of photographers?
The Master’s Degree in Photography and Design at ELISAVA has its methodology based and focussed on visual research through creative practices in all the different stages of the photographic process. Ranging from theoretical comprehension to the more practical aspects, different areas of knowledge in the technological procedures, skills and concepts, and right through to the interpretation and diffusion of photographic projects.
Our programme is based on the ability to articulate ideas by producing photographic projects, within the strict and critical sense of the market context, and a contemporary representation of photography.
What does it mean to be a curator of photography?
A curator of photography is not any different from a curator of art; a person, who has the preparation and skills to develop efficient strategies for an exhibition. Likewise, they have the possibility to present and develop a theme, a historical moment, a new technique and even a new artistic movement. In short, a curator is the professional who can relate the different voices behind a presentation, articulate its concepts with critical reflection, and modulate an aesthetic experience for the general public.
What enables you to identify an image as a GOOD PHOTOGRAPH?
Emotion. A good photograph moves you, it makes you feel in a particular way, and whatever that might be, it provokes a reaction in the viewer.
As you know, at AGORA images every week we organise photography contests, where people can participate by voting for the best images. Do you think it could add to the training and consolidation of new photographers, as a criteria for evaluation and selection?
Evaluation and contest are always subjective, but it is always positive to hear other people’s opinions about our own work.
ABOUT PEDRO VICENTE
Graduate in Photography at the The Surrey Institute of Art & Design (United Kingdom) with a Master’s Degree in Theory of Art at Goldsmiths College, London. Currently working as a visiting Professor of Theory in Photography at the University for the Creative Arts (United Kingdom). He has edited various books: “Instantáneas de la teoría de la fotografía” (2009) and “Álbum de familia” (2013) and has worked as curator for numerous photographic exhibitions. In 2009 he directed the symposium for the SCAN 09 Festival (Tarragona); in 2010 he led the conferences for the EMERGENT Festival (Lleida); and since 2012 has been Director of “Representación y recreación del álbum familiar: El archivo autobiográfico” (lit. Representation and recreation of the family album. The autobiography archive), a course at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (Huesca). He is currently director of ViSiONA, Huesca.
QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMUNITY:
Do you consider it is important to have feedback on your photographic work? How can it help you
to improve the level of your photos?
Are you a self-taught photographer or have you received studies?
How have you got your photographic knowledge? Observing the work of other photographers online?
What importance or repercussion could have having received photography studies for gaining a place
in today’s market?