Interview: Verónica Velasco Barthel
Luca Curci talks with Verónica Velasco Barthel during VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2021 – 14TH EDITION, at The ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Verónica Velasco Barthel started to get involved in photography in 1975 with an Olympus OM-1 and a home laboratory. In 1980 she studied History and Landscaping in Madrid Universities. It was not until 2006 that she dropped everything to concentrate exclusively on photography and Art. She completed her artistic formation with Ana Perez de Eulate and her photographic training attending workshops with Isabel Muñoz and Eduardo Momeñe in Madrid, Nikos Economopoulos in Lisbon and David Michael Kennedy in New Mexico among others. She has been responsible of photography and layout in the International Institute of Juridical Studies for its Cooperation Programs in Mauritania and Vietnam in 2005/2010.
Luca Curci – How did you get to photography?
Verónica Velasco Barthel – Since my childhood I enjoy painting but I soon realized that my hand was inaccurate. When I turned seventeen I discovered that with a camera I could play with images in a more precise and creative way. I even set up a laboratory in my grandma’s bathroom and I since then I surrendered to the magic of photography.
LC – Do you remember why you took your first professional photo?
VVB – Yes, because I was hired as a photographer by an NGO for a Development Cooperation Program in Mauritania.
LC – According to you, what makes a good photo?
VVB – The framing of a right point of view that moves the spectator to a reaction (emotion, wonder, fear, restlessness, pleasure…) and that the observer wants to look at it again and again.
LC – Which details do you focus on?
VVB – Framing, composition and content.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
VVB – Wondering and looking around, I find my inspiration in observing. Photography is the art of observation. Content is in your mind and you must feed it with culture, experiences and work, also in the silence of thought. Unknown places and traveling also inspires me.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
VVB – Yes, of course. I keep progressing and improving the way I look at the world, I am not exactly the same person I was ten years ago. I tend to be more direct, improving simplicity and letting out of the frame any detail that doesn’t contribute to the image.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
VVB – It depends, sometimes I plan a project and work according to it: I make research, look for documentation, collect images. In other occasions it is just the instinct what brings me to an inspiring setting. But any case whenever I am with the camera I forget everything and concentrate in the fascinating pleasure of shooting.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
VVB – I need a lot of time ahead to create a new project. Taking the photos, editing, laboratory work, framing options, that is a long process if we do it properly. It is part of a preexisting work.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
VVB – I had the opportunity to photograph during three weeks in India in 2015 for a project called “Mother Ganga Notes” Planning my work I got the information of Chaurasi Kutia Ashram, located in The National Park of Rajaji, near the peaceful city of Rishikesh. The Beatles went there in 1968 to practice Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. During their stay they composed over 40 songs collected in “The White Album” and “Abbey Road”. I have a certain attraction for ruined places and there I was in a very suggestive abandoned place, with almost nobody around me surrounded by wilderness and silence. I must say it was a fascinating afternoon trying to listen to the echoes which brings memories from the past. I usually work in black and white, The Beatles Ashram are the only photographs I did in color. Today I’ve heard that authorities wanted to clean and reconstruct the Ashram, so maybe all this buildings doesn’t exist any longer as I saw them. My Photographs are the recall of oblivion.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
VVB – It is my first contact with ITSLIQUID Platform. It is an interesting experience and I hope we both profit from this encounter.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
VVB – Yes. Every possibility to bring closer art and public is an opportunity for the artist. You were very gentle making the process easy and simple.