This week we will look deeper into Alfredo Sanchez's splendid and fascinating portraiture work. By carefully composing, lighting, choreographing and manipulating every minute aspect of every composition, he strives to transform the ordinary into perfection and to achieve, if only for brief instants, moments of pure utopia. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview.
Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
I was born in Mexico City in 1954; I studied law with specialization in International Commerce. I was also very much involved in Agriculture and Private Commerce Businesses for several years. I play tennis and ride horses in my spare time, and of course I spend a lot of time on my favorite pastime photography. As of today, we are working on a project to take photography up to a professional level by establishing a gallery in the near future in Cancun, Mexico.
How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
I started about 12 years ago in the photography world. I always wanted to learn photography and the time was right since the digital age was starting. I had to study in-depth in two major areas: photography techniques and Photoshop. Because of my age, the only way to do this was to study in the best schools and attend seminars and workshops all around the United States and Europe; like the school of EFTI in Spain and The London School of Photography with a great friend of mine Antonio Leanza. In order to obtain a firm basis for my photography I attended every year for the last 10 years the Photoshop World Congress in Las Vegas and Orlando.
What a pleasure it is to live in these times, in which you can get all the information you need by just asking another photographer or researching it on the Internet. You have to understand that it has been a big change in Mexico and around the world, where the so called masters of photography would never give you an advice or a formula to improve your photography, just because they were sacred secrets. Like everything else in life, it was full of unforgettable experiences and lessons that began forming my photography personality.
Which are your most important experiences that have influenced your art?
There were two experiences in my life that have influenced my art. First, my best friend and great photographer Julio Velasco helped me in establishing my foundation and influenced me to prepare and create photography instead of just taking photos. The second memorable experience was also with a photographer named Luis Caballo, when we went to Puerto Vallarta to a place where we usually spend Christmas and New Years; it had a great impact on myself looking at those beautiful places but now viewing all this through my lens.
At the end of the session with Luis Caballo, and after taking all day long street photography, we ended up going to a beautiful beach in Puerto Vallarta and I was witness of one of the best sunsets in my life. Then I realized that I had been there for many years and never stopped to admire such a beautiful moment.
Everyday you have experiences, which form your own vision in photography; those small experiences build you up to be the photographer that I am today. There was a famous Latin American writer Mr. Eduardo Galeano, who in one occasion was asked in a conference... “What is utopia?” and the answer was the best I have ever heard “ Utopia is like the horizon... any time that you want to reach it, it goes farther away and you will never get there.” So perfect art is not reachable, but the path to perfection is the one that we should enjoy.
Describe your overall photographic vision.
Sometimes I feel like the world has lost the capacity for admiration, to experience the incredible, to revel in astonishment. Life is filled with grace, motion, color, texture and beauty. If we only pause to look, we can see and experience these qualities everywhere. This is what I attempt to accomplish with my photographs, to call attention to the wonders of the world, to share the extraordinary richness of existence with others, to capture the magnificence of expression and gesture, and highlight what is so often missed in ordinary observation. That is the purpose of my work. By carefully composing, lighting, choreographing and manipulating every minute aspect of every composition, I strive to transform the ordinary into perfection and to achieve, if only for brief instants, moments of pure utopia.