Interview with Luis Garvan: The Walking Studio
At AGORA we are always on the look-out for promising photographers so we can share their story, their professional tips and artistry. If you enjoy the following interview you won’t want to miss our article on fine art fashion photography with Caitlin Bellah, this article on #Sound Contest winner Michael Aboya or this article on dance photography with Dayron Vera.
Luis Garvan is a portrait photographer of the new era, and as such, he has to split himself into several management personalities to carry out his main task: taking photos.
He travels worldwide giving lectures, seminars and workshops on portrait photography, keeps in touch with clients and stays present in social media. All this together is essential to his success, but it also takes a lot of time from the artistic process and the cornerstone of his profession.
As others have been doing for the last years, he found the solution in combining his travels and his portrait shoots by renting studios in every city he tours and announcing it on his social media, so that people can book a session if they want their portraits taken. He calls it The Walking Studio.
What does photography mean to you?
A means of expression; a very young art.
What are you looking for when you have a camera in your hands?
I treat the camera like an instrument, like a mechanical eye, and if something moves me, I want to conserve it in an image. I also want it to somehow move anyone that sees it, it is like looking for a bridge.
“… I treat the camera like a mechanical eye, if something moves me, I want to conserve it in an image, and in some way I also want to move anyone who sees it. It is like looking for a bridge.”
Do you prefer Digital or Analogue? Why?
Digital. I began taking digital photos, although I also do some projects with camera film.
As a portrait photographer are you looking to capture the essence of the subject? Are they giving a glimpse of another person, or are they a form of personal expression to describe yourself?
I try to offer my personal point of view about the person I am photographing. Everyone has their own charm and I like to capture that. I am not interested in capturing the essence of the person, I am looking to offer them a beautiful point of view. I also think that I am reflected in them, sometimes we chat a lot during the session. I’m a curious person and I ask a lot of questions, I listen. People describe their world to me, and in exchange I deliver them the photos.
Black and white, or colour? What interests you most in your portrait work?
Most of the photos I have taken have been in black and white, but I am now also very interested in colour and I am doing things about that.
Have you sought to achieve your own voice or style?
I don’t look for it. I don’t think about it.
In your relationship with lighting, do you prefer studio or natural light?
Most of my portraits are with artificial light, sometimes with natural light, and sometimes a mixture of both.
What are the features of an image that enable you to consider it a good photo?
Harmony, proportion, and a personal point of view.
“…I’m a curious person. I ask a lot of questions, I listen. People describe their world to me and in exchange, I deliver them the photos.”
What resources or Social Media do you use to promote your work? We would love to share the links to promote your work.
Currently what I most use is Instagram, I like the connectivity and instant interaction.
How do you prepare a portrait photography shoot?
For a portrait session I prepare two lights, a powered speaker, a couple of lenses and a camera. I generally don’t know people until they arrive at the studio.
Your work could be a source of inspiration for an aspiring portrait photographer. Would you share some tips that might be useful for the AGORA images community of photographers?
Look for empathy with the person whose portrait you are taking. If you can see they are nervous, chat with them, ask questions, but more than anything listen. Everyone likes to be heard.
ABOUT LUIS GARVAN:
Luis Garvan is a professional portrait photographer based in Mexico City. He started photographing when he was 15 years old. Since then, his curiosity about people has never stopped. Garvan is interested in the way they see the world, what moves and inspires them. His work as a speaker allows him to travel around the world giving workshops, seminars and conferences about his photographs.
“I’m not really sure what is my goal in life. I believe in beauty, in energy and I want my photographs could transmit that. I want to show the unique beauty and energy of every person that is in front of me holding a camera”.
QUESTION FOR THE COMMUNITY:
Your opinions are of great interest to us. With your point of view we can continually improve our work and share it with the community. Remember that we are all building AGORA together!
- Are you a portrait photographer or do you take some portrait photos? What do you try to capture when you take someone’s portrait, the subject’s essence and personality or your inner world?