Óscar Arribas is a Spanish photographer based in Madrid, who calls himself a "photography freak". Meet our newest jury member!
Hello! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Óscar Arribas. I am a photographer based in Madrid. I work mainly in the publishing sector, but I also let myself fall for the industrial from time to time. Above all, I consider myself to be a photography 'freak'.
How and when did your interest in photography begin?
When I was a child, I took photographs around my neighbourhood with an 18x24 camera that belonged to my parents. I have liked taking photos since I was small. Also, my sister was studying Fine Arts, and photography was always around in the house, but it wasn't until 2001 when I really felt that photography would play such an important role in my life. I started learning analogue photography and discovered Avedon, Penn, Doisneau, Bullock, Erwitt, Karsh... One year later, I was working in the editorial office of a local newspaper as a photographer, and my life revoved around a photo camera.
How would you define photography? What makes it worth it to walk down that path?
It is impossible to define in solid terms what photography is, as we start from the subjective world of each one of us and the infinite possibilities that this medium affords. For me, it is a tool that allows me to condense a multiplicity of things, feelings, moments... I like to use it as a medium for others to be able to face themselves. Breaking that barrier that there is, between the pose and the individual that is hiding behind it. It is very interesting to see how people protect themselves in front of a camera. As a photographer, it is a very enriching experience. Every single person is a world in themselves and every portrait a new experience. It is highly stimulating.
What inspires you?
People inspire me. The individuals themselves inspire me, the mark of a being on their surroundings inspire me.
What is the mark of a good photo?
Starting with the premise that the fact that whether a photo is good or bad depends on subjective factors, in my humble opinion, a good photo has to be able to communicate. When you are looking at various photos, there is always one that makes you stop. It makes you come to a halt. It captures you. The power of communication in a photograph is sometimes such, that is it capable of slowing down, if only for a few moments, an individual who is in a hurry, and say to them 'I have to tell you something'. It is difficult to explain, but it's something that everyone has experienced at some point.
Any advice that you would like to give to future photographers?
One that I learnt some time ago. It is not necessary to go to the other side of the world to carry out a good photographic project, you only have to look around you. In this day and age, there are many really interesting themes to photograph that are hidden. You only have to know how to see through the curtain that is created by routine and day-to-day life.