Photographer of the week - Javier de la Torre

This week we will look deeper into the magnificent work of Javier de la Torre. His landscape photos are technically brilliant, with extraordinary details. Thanks to Yvette Depaepe for conducting the interview. You will find more photos by the end of the article.

 
 

Briefly tell us about yourself, your hobbies and other jobs.
Well, I’m a Spanish guy born in Madrid in 1975 and I am married to Raquel. I’m a part time professional photographer. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to live in Spain with only the earnings from my landscape photography.  Therefore I run a small IT company offering professional services which allows me to travel and organize workshops throughout Spain and other parts of the globe doing what I really love: visiting the most amazing places on earth. My other hobbies apart from photography are listening to music, watching movies and riding motorcycles.

How has your history and life experiences affected your photography?
Photography has always been present in my life and as a child I played with my father’s cameras. In 1992 when I was a teenager, I started to use Photoshop version 2.0. Obviously, both hobbies merged and in 2007 I bought my first digital camera, a Nikon D40. But the turning point was meeting my wife, Raquel. Together we combined our passions : photography and travel. We spend as much time as we can doing this. When we are planning our holidays the same question always comes up, “where do you want to go to take photos?“

What first attracted you to photography?
Ever since I was a child, photography has been present in my life. My father and uncles liked photography, so there were a lot of cameras around me. Additionally, one of my uncles had a “dark room” at home and we occasionally used it. It was amazing to see the photos appear on paper submerged in liquids as if by magic. Since that moment, I fell in love with photography. 

Describe your overall photographic vision.
I have a mantra which perfectly describes what photography means to me. What matters is not to take the photo, what really matters is to be there to take the photo... That’s the reason why I take photos. When I think about all the places around the world where I have taken photos, it gives me goosebumps. But when I start to think about all the places I have yet to visit, it is very exciting.

Why are you so drawn by landscape photography?
It has to do with my mantra. I don’t like to take photos.  What I really like is travelling to all these amazing places and experiencing them while taking photos. For example: sitting at the edge of the Grand Canyon at sunset or in an ice cave under the Vatnajokull, the biggest glacier in Europe, or getting engaged under the Northern lights in Lapand at -25ºC (she said yes), or during our honeymoon being in the Badwater Basin at Death Valley, the hottest spot on earth, hearing the salt cracking at night.  And since I'm a perfectionist, I try to take the best photos I can each time.

What is more important to you, the story behind an image or the technical perfection?
Both. Of course, I love the story behind every photo I take. Most of my photos have a special meaning for me. For instance, I remember the first time I was in Iceland watching the Northern lights with Raquel. We were at the Jokulsarlon black sand beach surrounded by ice blocks, each at one end of the beach communicating by walky talkies, screaming “¡¡¡look there!!!” “¡¡¡wow, it’s amazing!!!” “¡¡¡ooooh my god!!!”... The batteries died. Every time I see the photos taken during that night I remember how we were screaming through the walkies... But, as I said before, I’m a perfectionist and always try to do my best in all aspects of my life including the photography. So, for me is also very important to take the photo as best as I can and to do the best post processing possible. 

What generally is your relationship to your subject matter beyond being an observer?
I like to be an observer. I don’t like interacting with the environment. What I can see is what I use. This means that we do a lot of preparation and planning before going out to take the actual photos.

What is your most important advice to a beginner in landscape photography and how do you get started?
Well, there is no easy answer, or more specifically, there is no unique answer. First of all, you must educate your brain in terms of photography. You must look at a lot of photos, but not just any photo, they must be masterpieces. 1X is a really useful place to do this. Additionally, you must train yourself. You can do it in a variety of different ways. Nowadays there are a lot of workshops done by very talented photographers around the world. There are a lot of tutorials and video tutorials available on the internet. There are a lot of people who don’t mind to share their knowledge, just asked them. In terms of photographic gear, don’t go crazy. Really expensive gear can help you to take better photos of course, but just when the situation in terms of light is complicated. You can get really nice stuff using  cheaper gear. If you want to invest money, do it on lenses.  Don’t waste you money buying a cheap tripod as I did. Save up and invest in a really good tripod and ball-head system.

Finally, what really helped me go further with my photography was to travel looking for the best light in amazing locations. I prefer to invest my money in a flight ticket instead of buying a new camera.

Who are your favourite photographers and more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?
Talking in terms of landscape photography, there’s a group of American photographers that inspire me with every photo they publish. First of all, Marc Adamus. His work is really inspiring. Every time I’m out there I have in mind his photos and I do my best to get similar results. Additionally, in that group with Marc Adamus, I’m really inspired by Ryan Dyar, Miles Morgan, Chip Phillips, Ted Gore, Alex Noriega and Kevin Mcneal. Also, all the tutorials done by Sean Bagshaw about luminosity masks and Tony Kuyper's panels have improved my skills in terms of post processing.

In Europe, there are three photographers who inspire me. Max Rive, Simon Roppel and Enrico Fossati. I really love their photos.

And finally, of course, in Spain, there are several photographers who “push” me to be a great photographer.  Most of them are really good friends and I spend a lot of time with them taking photos and post processing them, going on trips, participating in workshops... They are David Martin Castan, Iñigo Cia, Jesus M. Garcia, Dario Sastre, Arturo Solis, Juan Pablo de Miguel, Carlos F. Turienzo, Santiago Pascual Buyé... Apart from them, there’s a long list  of photographers whose work I follow. I try to learn as much as possible from them all.

Apart from landscape photography, I love all photographic categories and in each one there are photographers whom I follow. It's impossible to mention them all. The list would be too long ;-)

Is there is any specific photo taken by another photographer that has inspired you a big deal and why?
There are two photos taken by Marc Adamus that shocked me the first time that I saw them:

 



For one year, I was obsessed with the milky way. I investigated how to take photos of the milky way, how to process them, etc. During that period of experimenting I found the photo from Marc and I remember that I thought; “Wow, I must do something like that”... Nowadays, I know how to take photos of the milky way but I still don’t have a shot like that, so, I’m still looking ...


"The Deep Blue" by Marc Adamus.


I was impressed with the photo of the ice cave after I had been in one myself. At that moment I knew how difficult it was to take this kind of photo. Now I’ve been in several ice caves in Iceland and I have a lot of stuff that satisfy me but whenever I enter an ice cave, I have this photo in mind.

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?
I want to continue to improve my photographic skills of course, but my main goal is to continue travelling around the world discovering places I've never been to. Next year we plan to travel to Hawaii and the Volcanoes National Park. A long term goal is to visit Abraham Lake in Canada, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.A. At some point during this time we will visit the Dolomites and the Matterhorn in Europe.

Describe your favourite photograph taken by you and why it is special to you?
Huuummmm, it’s a really difficult question. If I had to choose only one photo, it would be because of the memories I have when we took it.

 

It was taken at the Badwater Basin in Death Valley, the lowest point in the U.S.A., at 86 metres below sea level. It is also the place where the highest temperature on earth has been recorded. I hate high temperatures. I love the snow, the ice, the cold... And there we were on our honeymoon, trying to take a night shot of this place at 9 pm with temperatures of more than 50ºC.  It was in the middle of nowhere and complete darkness. The only sounds that we could hear was the click of our cameras and the salt crunching under our feet. It was amazing to be there. I felt at peace and I was soooo happy being with the women I love, doing what I love, just enjoying life... I have a great memory of that night despite it being 50ºC...

Is there anything else you wish to add  and what do you think about 1X as a home base for your work?
It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with 1X and I’m so honoured every time the curators publish one of my photos in the 1X gallery.  Referring to your previous question about advice for those who are beginners in photography, I always tell them  “train your brain, you must look at a lot of photos, thousand of photos, but you need to look at great photos, masterpieces, and the best place to do that is 1X”. For me,  the 1x gallery and the great photographers who are showcased on it, is my greatest source of inspiration at this time. Thanks to 1X crew members and thanks to all the great photographers who form the 1X family.





























 

Join Our Insider List

By joining you agree to our terms and privacy

Next page

    Total: $0

    including shipping and taxes