INTERVIEW WITH ARES MAHOL, guest judge #Senses contest
We discovered Ares Mahol – who was contest guest judge in the latest #Sense Contest, when she won the #PetLovers contest. We began to follow her work, bewitched by the soft delicacy and tenderness she transmits through her images, depicting young women embracing beauty in bloom. Most recently we took the opportunity to interview her at our studio in Barcelona.
Ares, looking at your work the word “spring” comes to mind. You have accomplished a well defined style that delicately expresses the presence of beauty; young women, flowers, and a soft touch of color editing. Is this what you sought out or was it something that came gradually as part of a process?
Well, at first I started testing, but soon realized that I was attracted to a particular type of image, a particular type of shot, an expression, a depth of field, etc. I usually move along the same line because that’s what I enjoy, but I keep experimenting with different styles so I don’t get bored or too comfortable… although in the end I always end up selecting the same kind of image!
You are a very young photographer. How long have you been taking photos for, and how did you get started ?
Since I was little I was interested in photography, and since I was about 12 years old I already knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to it. They gave me my first reflex camera at 18 and I began to study artistic photography at 20.
Is it a full time job or is it a hobby for you?
It is more than a full-time job, but still remains a hobby!
Being so close to a big city like Barcelona, have you ever felt the need to move because of your photographic work? Do you think there are more opportunities there for a photographer ?
I believe that nowadays the borders are blurred, everything is moved by digital platforms which allow you to be discovered anywhere in the world. The good thing about being close to Barcelona is that it offers you the chance to meet many of the people you meet through social networks, and it serves as a meeting point for different cities.
In the short film “Mai”, from the director Marta González De La Vega, you appear in the credits as: Camera and Electrical Department. Tell us about this experience of doing the making of photos for this production and how did is this reflected in your photographic work?
It was an experience that I would repeat a thousand times over. I already knew Marta from other projects, and it is always a pleasure to work with her. She was able to create a great team, the atmosphere during the filming days was quite fun, despite the heat and the long hours of work. The entire team worked very closely together, and I think it shows in the result. I would have loved to participate in her new short film, but this time the schedule didn’t allow me to.
Photos from the shortcut “Mai”, directed by Marta González De la Vega. Photographer: Ares Mahol.
“I believe that nowadays the borders are blurred, everything is moved by digital platforms which allow you to be discovered anywhere in the world”.
You work with young female subjects; are they usually professional models? What tip could you give the AGORA Community for selecting and directing your models ?
They aren’t necessarily professional; I happen to have friends who are professional models, but I usually choose the models for what they transmit. My tip for the AGORA Community of photographers would be that when choosing a model, be guided by your personal concept of beauty. In my case, I am more attracted to a look than to a smile. A priority to me is that my models have a way of looking that calls my attention. Their hands and body language are very important too.
“…when choosing a model, be guided by your personal concept of beauty. A priority to me is that my models have a way of looking that calls my attention.”
Which kind of settings do you prefer for your shoots, indoors or outdoors? How do you manage natural light? Do you pick a specific time of the day? Do you use artificial light?
Whether indoors or outdoors, I need a space that visually draws my attention, in which I see possibilities. I always work with natural light, but in case I need to reinforce it with artificial light I always try to make it as subtle as possible. And as much as I can, I try to make it imitate the behavior of natural light. I don’t usually take into account the time of day or the weather conditions or even the location (when it’s a personal session), as I like to adapt to what I find myself in.
If we were to compare your photos with music, we would think of soft delicate indie ballads. Do you find inspiration in music or any other kind of art?
I do love cinema, especially psychological thrillers. Somehow nothing inspires me more! My favorite movie would sum up perfectly to what I’m looking for in photography.
How do you relate to the following questions ?
A favorite food? Avocado.
A favorite dessert? Chocolate coulant.
A favorite color or color palette? Earth, brown, green, orange, yellow, grey.
What time of year? Autumn & Winter.
Rain or shine? Rain.
Day or night? Both.
An emotion or mood? I never know how to define the feeling I’m looking for in my photography. It’s a problem when I direct models; I end up defining it as “nothing face”.
Urban landscape or nature? Mainly Nature.
Do you like to travel, or are you a house cat? I like to get to know new places, but I don’t feel it necessary to go to the other side of the world when I have so many things to see nearby.
Cinema or Netflix? Both as long as the movie or series are good.
Favorite kind of music? It depends on the moment, I am guided more by artists than by musical genre.
The subjects in your photos seem to be touched by a powerful feeling, sometimes they exteriorize it but it is above all a deeply inner emotion. Do the stories you tell have something to do with yourself? What do you think about LOVE and how does it inspire your work?
It’s exactly that feeling that I don’t know how to explain, the one I like to portray in my photography. The fact that is not a recognizable feeling is what makes each person draw their own conclusion. My favourite film, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, defines exactly what I think about love… it is something that appears without seeking it, but that each one must know how to keep, to maintain, and never forget the hope with which it starts.
About Ares Mahol
Ares Mahol is a 26-year-old Spanish photographer specialized in portrait and lifestyle photography. She graduated in fine art photography from the Municipal School of Art Leandre Critòfol (Lleida, Catalonia) in 2014 and since then has dedicated herself professionally to photography. Currently she is planning to venture into stock and editorial photography while keeping her personal style, which she can easily adapt to fashion photography. As a future project, Ares is preparing her prints to participate in a group exhibition that brings together the work of several Catalan photographers towards the end of this year. Ares was a great contest guest judge on AGORA images and we look forward to collaborating again !
AGORA is made by everyone! We would love to know what you think; share your point of view with other members of the AGORA community.
QUESTIONS FOR THE AGORA COMMUNITY:
Have you ever participated in an AGORA Contest ? How was your experience ?