Ten Questions with the Photographer Mayerling García

Jan 16, 2014 Comments Off on Ten Questions with the Photographer Mayerling García by

By Verónica Sanchis

Translation  by Ellen Donnison

For January, Ventana Latina has dedicated this month’s edition to memory. Therefore, it is all the more relevant that Fotografía Latina has had the fortune to interview the Nicaraguan photographer Mayerling García. For three years García has photographed El Crucero, located in Nicaragua, where the notion of memory and nostalgia has played a major role in her personal photographic project.

García’s work is centred on documentary and humanist photography, however she also produces conceptual work. She has participated in diverse collective exhibitions shown nationally and internationally. Her work has been exhibited in Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, the United States, the Czech Republic, Spain and Germany. In 2011 her work was selected for the PhotoEspaña Festival’s circuit of exhibitions and shown along side other Latin American photographer’s work. García has also collaborated with international news agencies but currently works independently in her native country.

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia.

 

Ventana Latina: 1. What inspired you to become a photographer?

Mayerling García: I don’t remember if there was an exact moment of inspiration, in any case it was really a personal search for what and who I wanted to be. It wasn’t the case that one day I thought about being a photographer and then I suddenly became one overnight, it was partly down to chance and also something that happened gradually overtime. You only know what you want to do when you find something you like it and still continue to like it as time progresses, realizing why you really like it and why you want to be a photographer. It was definitely not because I wanted to make money, to do that, I would have needed be a commercial photographer only, focusing on the techniques and the best equipment, rather than a photographic vision. I always liked to take portraits of my grandparents and my surroundings in my native town, Estelí, in the north of Nicaragua. For prolonged amounts of time I liked to contemplate the light reflected in different spaces and places, in the sky, between the trees, in a puddle of water on the road, and all the little things that would fill me with emotion. I still like to regard the beauty reflected by the light and know that if anything has inspired me, it is this. I have taken photographs without pretension since I was young. For me, taking photographs and then showing them to others was enough to make me feel happy and proud of myself. Despite this, I never thought I would be a photographer, but time was a good indicator that this was something I wanted to do, and when I was old enough, I put my mind to it. With time I realised that everything and anything I did was part of a search for who I was. When I find something I like to photograph I feel like I’m discovering part of myself. The places, people and things that I photograph are, in some way, a reflection of what I am and who we are as people.

VL: 2. How did the El Crucero project come about?

MG: I began by visiting the places that I like and photographed them. As always, I recurrently visited “El Crucero”, and one day, decided to really photograph this place. What I mean by this is that I not only wanted to photograph what I liked, to remember the precious moments of my childhood, but I wanted to make a series that asked, “what is this place?” and “who lives here?” I at least hoped to portray my perception of this place regarding its areas, people, emotional feeling and the special atmosphere it surrounds you in. This work is what I have been selling for the past three years and has become one of my most important projects. It is within this process that I have completely changed my photographic vision, which has now become more reflective and less impulsive. This shift in my vision has since taken me to many places, and as a result I now approach photography with a different perspective.

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

VL: 3.  You speak of these photographs ‘having a dense dose of abstraction that represents this place like reflections or fragments of memory’. Do you believe these photographs are successful in representing yourself and this place?

MG: I think so, despite the fact the memories are vague and imprecise, they come back bit-by-bit, in little pieces like dreams. I try to make the photos seem similar or give them small fragments of memory. This has not been difficult to do as this place has not changed much since I was child. The same buildings and hotels still stand, it has remained almost intact. For me, visiting this place is like reliving a memory; other times it feels like a memory of a memory. It is because of this my memories need an element of abstraction to allow them to be reflected through my photographs.

VL: 4. Have you previously worked with memory as a principal theme?

MG: No, my work with El Crucero is the first time I have used memory as a principal theme.

VL: 5. Do you believe there exists such a thing as a ‘Latin American style’ in photography?

MG: I don’t think there is a definite style, which is to say I don’t know if believe in a ‘Latin American style’ in photography. In any event I believe in the new photographic languages that are being developed. We can refer to Latin American photography as having a dossier of work with a fundamental theory, but I am not sure if there is an exact style in this. There are many people doing interesting things, showing their vision in their work. However, in Nicaragua, the country I live in, we fall short in some areas, for example, we need more photographs that portray aspects of this country, aspects other than its underdevelopment and themes similar to this. I think people already know a lot about these issues and I believe one has to delve deeper and examine other ideas. This always offers grander perspectives and challenges what people know about Nicaragua, offering a new imaginative insight into this small part of the world. I also think it is important that we photograph and show ourselves, as other people don’t know how we view and identify ourselves. We have been photographed, but only from a foreigner’s point of view. Most importantly we need to create our own photographic memory and appropriate this idea.

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia.

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia.

VL: 6. How do your projects develop from idea to practice?

MG: Not all my projects grow in the same way, for some I have a fairly clear idea of what I want so I simply reflect upon and consider that. I look for a theme or an idea that interests me, I investigate it, thinking about the technique and the format etc. Everything is clear up until the practical elements and finishing it. Sometimes there are other ideas that are difficult to work out which require a lot of effort. I often start with an idea without knowing how it will turn out. However, the pulse that accompanies my work generates my interest and makes me reflect on it over and over again. This is how I work towards crafting my creative process and when it develops I realize that I am going in the right direction. For me, reflection is an essential weapon for us as authors and this is the level from which I would like to view my work. Another important aspect is content; I believe in the speech of photography, that has content and can still achieve aesthetic and visual possibilities. One has to understand that just having a good idea does not mean they will have success with it; there are variables that are necessary for this, such as a structure and a work plan, limitations, editing, post-production and to know who is going to direct it and want you want. Sometimes the strongest idea you have stays in a folder on your laptop, untouched for sometime.

VL: 7. Have you ever previously thought of combining your photography with other visual or audio media?

MG: I am very interested in hand held camcorders with photography, I believe they complement each other well. I think that when combined together, they say many things which are sometimes the same, but in a distinctive form. This can only result in something positive because they enrich the possibilities of expression.

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

VL: 8. Which theme has developed the most in your photographic projects?

MG: It could be nostalgia; in general I like to think about things that are intrinsically linked with nostalgia, forgetfulness, love, the rain, poetry and all the entities and sensations they evoke.

VL: 9. What are you currently discovering in the work regarding your new project?

MG: I just started a series of photographs of people who visit thermal or boiling waters situated around the shores of a river. These rivers join up to make some of the largest lakes in the country where many people travel. People go there as part of the healing process for their physical ailments through the use of this water. One has to view this as a process akin to the reconstruction of people’s bodies that have reached their limit, and for a moment, wish to feel like they did before. This place is marked with emotion that draws people towards it, to its rawness and all that is sublime. The theme develops constantly as I find people that want to be photographed and who want to share a little about their history and experiences.

VL: 10. What would you like to represent in you photographic projects? 

MG: They relate a little to what I said at the beginning; my projects are about the search, the search for the sublime, strength, beauty, the abstract, magic, mystery, fragility, the distance, the duality between the things that disappear but still have a pulse.

 

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

El Crucero. @ Mayerling Garcia

To see more of Mayerling’s work, please visit her web site:

http://mayerling-garcia.tumblr.com/

 

 

 

VL English

About the author

Adriana es Directora de Ventana Latina desde 2010.
Comments are closed.