The Brussels Street Photography Festival (BSPF) interviews Guille Ibanez, the runner-up of the 2017 International Series contest.
Born in Madrid (Spain) but drawn to Manchester (United Kingdom), where he now lives, Guille Ibanez (1977) is a photographer whose work focuses on culture, tradition and human interaction. Guille develops long term projects mostly in his home country of Spain, but he also works within the UK and Asia. Religion and human faith play a major part in his work which has been part of many festivals around Europe and America. He has been a finalist at prestigious festivals such as the MIFA (Moscow International Foto), StreetFoto San Francisco and the Miami Street Photography Festival.
How did you start with your photographic projects?
As a cinematographer, I’ve always been interested in the power of the image to tell stories but it was only recently (4 years) that I took photography more seriously as a I realised photography fits better with my personality as the only thing you need is you and your camera as opposed to film where you are just a part of a bigger structure and production is (in general) slower and more costly.
Could you please tell us about your line of work and your objectives with it?
I started shooting lots of street photography but after a while I realised that I was more interested in going deeper in certain subjects and I started moving towards a more documentary approach. I would like to explore this direction further and work in long term projects in the future.
Which other projects are you working on and what is your motivation?
I am always involved with several projects at the same time. My main project at the moment takes me back to Spain. This is an ever evolving project that started as an exploration of religious festivities in my home country and it’s quickly turning into a more soul searching quest to discover the country where I was born. It’s becoming more personal.
On the other hand I have been shooting locally around the ring road of my hometown in Manchester. This a completely different kind of photography which forces me to slow down and choose my shots more carefully.
Also, every few years I like traveling to a complete strange country to me in order to refresh my vision.
What about your methodology of work?
In general I work without a very specific plan. If I’m shooting at a particular event then I just go and shoot whatever attracts me there. This could be a particular composition, a colour, a face or most of the times, a ’moment’. But in general I don’t like to set myself many restrictions or boundaries, I work better when I feel free to roam and shoot.
Could you please tell us the story behind the winning series?
That series of work belongs to a bigger project called ‘Tierra Santa’ which I have been developing for the last three years which deals with Spanish traditions and festivities. However, this project has been evolving and changing of lately. It started as a pure look at the particular events (mostly religious) but I now feel it is more about what surrounds these events and how people interact with each other and how do they relate to their heritage and roots. It has also become a very personal endeavour as it allows me to discover the country I left quite a few years ago.
How do you work with series such as ‘Tierra Santa’?
It varies. With the Spanish project I just research the place where I am going and I shoot. This involves lots of work as I have to travel by plane and most of the times drive for hours to reach the destination. Working with series fit really well with me as I was trained as a film-maker and it order to make a film you need to construct a narrative, find context, etc….I’m not a big fan of just going out and shoot single pictures, I need to feel what I’m shooting belongs to a bigger whole.
Which experiences did you gain by participating at the BSPF2017?
BSPF 17 was great for me. Not only I won an award which is always great but I met lots of fellow photographers who I had met through Social media in the past. It did also encourage me to carry shooting the project. All in all I think BSPF is one of the best organised and interesting festivals I’ve been to!
The runner-up series for the BSPF 2017 can be seen hereunder: