Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Time out in the Shed: A cup of tea with Alfredo Liétor, our Artist of the Week

This is our first week of 'Time out in the Shed' - a new feature that entails us having a virtual cup of tea with our featured Artist of the Week, and finding out a bit more about them!

So here is our chat with Alfredo...
Alfredo Liétor
What first drew you to photography?
I was a teenager when my sister started to work as a photo assistant in a studio. She started to buy books about photography, composition, lighting techniques, etc... All those books ended up in my hands. I remember devouring those books, learning without noticing about the fundamentals of photography. 
Later on, i decided to study visual communication at Complutense University in Madrid, and at the same time I enrolled a photography course, so i can say i have formal training in both Theory and practice.
I must say I still love to read photography books!

What is your favourite photographic memory, and why?
Maybe first time I printed my own copies... the moment you observe the paper under the red light and the smell of the chemicals in the dark room, waiting to the latent image to appear... This is a very nostalgic memory as I don't use the dark room anymore.

Who is your favourite photographer, and why?
This is a really difficult question to answer! 
I could mention lots of photographers but as you specifically ask for only one, I'm going to say Henri Cartier-Bresson.He not only took a lot of brilliant photographs, but also built a really nice and candid theory around the capturing process, "The Decisive Moment". You can still perceive his strong influence in the current street photography revival. 

What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it?
As photographer Chase Jarvis said not long ago, "the best camera is the one that's with you". At this moment, the best camera is the one that's always on my pocket, yes, my mobile phone camera!
I've been using a point and shoot camera for several years, but then, all of a sudden, smartphones came on scene with bigger and better cameras so now i'm taking more and more pictures with my iPhone. But it's not only about capturing images with your mobile phone, nowadays you can have a complete dark room in your pocket thanks to photo editing mobile applications (just to name one, Snapseed is my favorite at this moment). You can take full control of the whole process, from capture to publishing, anytime, anywhere!

Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.
That's another difficult one! Although I like most of the process, there's a moment I really enjoy, and it's the moment i press the shutter button, or being more precise, the lapse of time between the moment i see something that catch my attention, and the moment i finally press the button. Exciting!

I moved to Barcelona from Madrid a year and a half ago. I love street photography. At this moment Barcelona still inspires me a lot. I think it's a very photogenic city, not only because of it's great architecture, outdoors or viewpoints, but also because of the multiple layers you can perceive in the city; from gothic history to Industrial legacy, from mass tourism to local living.

Do you have bursts of creativity - and when/where are you most creative?
Not sure about calling this a "burst of creativity" or maybe the opposite, but sometimes i don't take a single picture for months, then all of a sudden one day i take my camera and start taking pictures again. It's just like a springtime explosion after a long and inactive winter... It's a periodic thing, not necessarily a yearly period but cyclic for sure.

Sometimes I'm not looking for something particular when i walk around the city, but then it can be a certain light, a situation or a person that trigger my attention. Once this happens, I can't stop taking pictures, and I need to capture the creative side of the street ;-)
On the other hand, i spend a lot of time at home in front of my computer, and that's another side of creativity, when you have to check your images, select, reject, edit or even retouch them... I like this too.

What are the most important elements of a successful photo?
I know this may sound topic... but a successful photo should tell a story, or at least suggest it. 
As a language with it's own rules, photography allows you to tell a story in a lot of different ways, so, knowing about light, exposure, composition, point of view, color, subject, etc... and you could tell a story with photography.

Alfredo Liétor

Thanks for taking the time to chat to us Alfredo! 

To read more about Alfredo, and to see his work, please visit his Shed Portfolio. Alfredo also has a lovely website, and you can follow him on Twitter @AlfredoLietor.


  1. Thank you so much Alfredo for such an insightful interview,


  2. This is a lovely way to get to know Shed Creatives - nice to meet you Alfredo, and love your work! Looking forward to more cups of tea in the Shed over the coming weeks :-)