Recién publicada: la entrevista que me hizo MAGIX Magazine, por Jean-Pascal Niewöhner, junio 2016. A ver qué tal…
A visit to the universe of Fernando Prats
Shadows caressing urban profiles. People interacting with spaces. A walk through Fernando Prats’ site is a trip to a popular Barcelona, but also a cosmopolitan one. Born in Buenos Aires and settled in the Catalan capital, Prats is a multifaceted artist with a long career devoted to photography, literature and design. In addition to publishing several books of photography and poetry, he is behind the graphic communication studio Estudi Prats and teaches photography workshops. For all these reasons, it is a pleasure for us to have him in MAGIX magazine.
Tell us which artists are your main references.
I like to think on the work of Miles Davis, Onetti, Hopper, Helmut Newton, Godard, Deleuze, Fontcuberta, Nouvel, David Carson, David Lynch, Piazzolla, Artaud, Cronenberg, and many others. I am particularly interested in those who, even if they knew the medium and the conditions of production very well, they questioned and subverted them consistently over time with their own voice, often transdisciplinarily. Regarding photography specifically, I am interested in the compositional rigor, precision, imagination, and irony that I find in the works of Cecil Beaton, Philippe Halsman, Edward Weston, Walde Huth, Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Man Ray, Rodchenko, Irving Penn, Avedon, etc.
How did you become interested in photography? What is your educational background?
As a child, I had access to my grandmother’s Kodak EK160 and other compact cameras, and I was involved in music and literature and watching movies. I studied Communication Sciences and later I started being interested in design and viewing as many paintings as I could. I first dedicated myself to photography with the birth my daughter. I studied on my own, went to workshops, and practiced everything I could – three things that I’m still doing. I won some contests. I went from a Sony to a FujiFilm, to a Casio, to a Canon, and to a Nikon. At one point, I became interested in architecture and video, I got a set of compact cameras from the 80’s and one set of lomography that I still have. Then, I started to teach and to publish reviews of specialized material.
In your portfolio, we can find architectural photography, fashion, theater, festivals, sporting events, cityscapes … In this sense you are very versatile. What challenges does it pose at a technical level?
Yes, that raises many challenges. From a technical point of view, they are practically autonomous disciplines with their own rules, and I find this fascinating; on the other hand, from a conceptual approach, all images are faced with the need to convey a certain discourse. And this is increasingly difficult given the digital chaos swamped with visual stimuli.
What photographic equipment do you currently use?
One Nikon D810 with: a 70-200 f / 2.8; 105mm f / 2.8; 85mm f / 1.8; 50mm f / 1.4; 30mm f / 1.4; 14mm f / 2.8; and 24-70 f / 2.8. And a D3300 that I always bring with me. For workshops and events, I also have a Canon 5D Mark III with 35mm f / 1.2 and a 24-104 f / 4, a GoPro Hero, and a Sony CX300E. Flashes from Nikon, Yongnuo, Amaran and Canon. Some accessories from Godox, Lee, Op / Tech USA, and tripods Giottos, Manfrotto and Joby.
Among other courses, you give photography workshops with mobile devices. How do you assess the emergence of the smartphone as a photographic tool?
Thanks to the smartphone the term “ubiquitous” reached a new level of connotation. Its relevance is undeniable. A camera that we permanently bring with us, represent a look that can not be ignored, and that generates its own uses, vices and habits. But it would be wrong to think that devices are those which set the boundaries. In any case, the limit is set by laziness. What we have to do is to learn. And to fail better.
What are you working on now? Where can we see your photos?
In the short term, I have quite delayed the publication of three books of photography on New York, Paris and London, a short film without dialogue, a series of painting diptychs and photos with Miguel Ruibal, and an exhibition of portraits.
Many of Fernando Prats’ projects can be viewed on his website and social networks (like @fernandoprats). And if this interview has inspired you to make more photos, with Xara Photo & Graphic Designer, you can get the best out of them.