Publicado originalmente en Tunica
This interview was made just weeks away before Oriol Maspon’s passed away on August 12th, 2013. RIP
– In an old self-portrait you pose together with an amazing collection of photographic cameras inside of a dolmen, a prehistoric tomb. Looking at it right now it seems to me like a very ironic instant about the disappearance of old analogical techniques. I’d love to hear what the original purpose for that picture was.
That picture was a Christmas card I sent to a friend and it was taken in Gerona, Spain in an old burial dolmen. I did it with my partner Julio Ubiña
-It seems unavoidable to ask you about digital photography. I read in an interview that you “hate” digital cameras. Do you still think the same way?
I don’t use digital cameras and I never have. Like they say, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Analogical cameras always have worked well for me. Basically I am disconnected with this new technology because it came late in my life. The only digital camera I owned my son took it from me (laughs)
– I have heard that you have mostly worked per assignment, is that right? Do you also take pictures other than the commissioned ones?
I was paid for only for published Pictures, which was very common and probably still is. So, consciously and unconsciously me and my colleagues created images with the purpose of seeing them printed in the media. In that regard there is not such a division for a photojournalist, we are at all times alert to images that can be used and constitute our work.
– Do you think that a good picture should shock the viewer or suggest?
For me a good picture has to inform the viewer. Give them a sort of information that is new in a certain way. Also, depending on the assignment you look for one effect or another.
– Usually when you think about photojournalism, you think in Black and White photography. Why do you think Black and White pictures look in a way more “real” to us.
Honestly, I think it’s just because we are used to that. It’s part of the collective memory since so many great photojournalist have worked in black and white. Perhaps because it is easier to develop…
– To be a photojournalist is it better to be unnoticed or to make yourself visible?
Well, I think most times it’s better to be unnoticed (laughs)
– Nowadays some photographic prints reach very high prices in the market. What do you think of this commoditization of the copies?
This is a result of a tendency in the art market to balance the natural possible multiplication (and hence the devaluation) of the image as opposed to the uniqueness of painting. It is a way to balance the value and keep selling art.
New York, where I live, is a city which seems to be made for being photographed. Do you think some cities are more interesting for taking Pictures, or it’s more the people who live in the places who make them more interesting to take pictures?
New York is a fascinating city that I love, one of my favorite cities. The energy of the people who live there create an unique atmosphere. It is also very important the creative heritage of the places. It is not the city itself what creates the energy but the cultural influx and history which can support creativity in the right environment.
– Can you speak a little bit about the cultural life you lived in the metropolises of the 60’s and 70’s: Barcelona, Paris, Rome, New York…?
In those days the creative life in these metropolises was interconnected. We all knew each other and collaborated in projects together, sometimes out of friendship. For example you would see Antonioni walking into my house and asking me to take some pictures.. and I would do it.
In my time many photographers simply couldn’t afford to be cinematographers, so we had to specialize in photography and make a whole movie in a single shot… (laughs)
-What are you working on right now?
One of my latest projects is an anthological exhibition at the MENAC, curated by David Balsells, who is in charge of my photography archive with the collaboration of Elsa Peretti.