Art Writer’s Wednesday 15 - Tumblr Artist
Alejandro M. Campos Herrera | on Tumblr (Mexico)
Architect and photographer Alejandro M. Campos Herrera is a keen member and active contributor on Tumblr based in Puebla, Mexico. Not only does he produce consistently amazing photographs to show the beauty of his country, he also co-curates two great sites that showcase photographers on Tumblr: Lensblr and The Photographers Directory. Alejandro’s personal work was featured on Artchipel over a year ago and we are glad to have him speak about his story, creative process, and future projects.
Artchipel: Who is Alejandro M. Campos Herrera? Tell us a bit about your educational background.
Alejandro M. Campos Herrera: First off, I would like to thank you guys for taking the time to set up this interview. That said, I am a 27-year-old architect and photographer based in Puebla, the 4th most developed city in Mexico. Architecture always seemed the obvious way to go for me since I pretty much always loved everything about it. Then, I completely fell in love with photography.
A: How did photography initially capture your attention? How does your architectural background relate to your visual artwork?
AMCH: There has always been a camera around me. My mom would take pictures of my sister and me all the time as we grew up. So a camera was never a strange gadget in our household, but we never used photography for any purpose other than documenting family time. It was in 2008 that I began asking myself a lot of things about photography, blurred backgrounds were a mystery to me. Yeah, those were the days! I happened to be in Barcelona at the time studying for some months and doing a little traveling as well. I traveled across Western Europe doing mostly travel photography, well, tourist photography to be honest. Then I came back home with all these files that remained in my computer till early 2010 when I got my first DSLR. It all aligned, I guess. With my new “toy” and the whole set of photos I had from Europe, my girlfriend suggested I create a blog. So I did, and I started posting here on Tumblr April that year. It was a slow process, a journey. Then the followers came, I began being noticed and, well, the rest is history. A lot of effort and some luck played huge roles in this growing passion photography is for me. Since my early experimentations my architectural background was and still is present. I am a fool for straight lines, balanced images, and geometry.
A: You are very much concerned about the perception that people abroad have of Mexico. In your work in photography, how did you come to develop your aesthetic without falling into the cliché?
AMCH: Since I became aware of how photography is a medium not only to show a place to the eyes of others but also a perception changer to those unfamiliar to it, I felt that I had to do something about it. People often think of Mexico as a dangerous country. Truth is, there is crime just like anywhere else and, while it is an issue, that is not what Mexico should be defined by. Mexico is full of culture, color, and great architecture, all worth being seen and spread. As I try to change this perception, I also try not to fall into this niche of super saturated handicrafts photographs and such. I wanted to develop a different approach to what photography can show of this great country.
A: Black and white vs color, why choose one over the other? Is the creative process different?
AMCH: I used to say “Everything looks better in B&W”, but that has changed. I guess I was not comfortable with color at one point because I (and let me be completely honest here) did not know how to work with it. Most of the times, while shooting, I already know which photos are going to be processed in black and white and which others will remain in color, but it is not a rule. Sometimes certain photographs are just meant to be one way or another. Understanding color is key, whether you are working in B&W or in color.
A: How do you feel about the way your work has progressed so far? How do you see it evolving in the future?
AMCH: I love visiting my archive from time to time, it gives me a perspective on how much I have evolved and learned through these years that I have been shooting in a more serious way. Tumblr was and will always be the platform that made me discover my love for photography. So many artists are sharing their work on a daily basis and nurturing my creativity. It is just amazing. It is all a process, and I continue learning every day. I am pretty sure that my work will keep changing as time goes by, it is both natural and necessary.
A: Not only have you become a pillar of Tumblr’s photography community, but you also have successfully crafted an Instagram that we enjoy greatly. How do you use social media to invent or reinvent yourself as photographer?
AMCH: I have been extremely lucky to have such an impact on Tumblr’s photography community while I am far from being that influential, let alone “Tumblr famous”. Tumblr has always been such a welcoming platform for us creatives, and I thank the staff for that. It is always great coming across people with your same interests and passions. I have met some of the kindest, most talented, and down to earth people there, with whom I have grown a strong bond. We are family.
Now, Instagram. Thank you! It has been quite a ride, let me tell you. I enjoy it so very much, and I think I speak for its millions of users when I say that it has taken mobile photography to a whole new level. The aspect I think many of us love the most about it is not the filters but its immediacy. Having your phone with you is amazingly convenient when it comes to capturing a moment that would otherwise be gone if you did not. It also keeps you creative, as there is a constant need and availability to document your surroundings and experiences.
Social media is a must nowadays if you are one of the creative types. It is a great way to spread your work and to meet people. Contacts, you know? I also think it is crucial to understand each platform’s purpose. Each platform has its own kind of audience and they expect to see fresh content in each of them so I try not to be repetitive. For example, my Tumblr and Flickr are pretty much the same since they work together as virtual galleries while my Instagram, on the other hand, is completely different. I devote it to mobile photography 99% of the time, and I think that is ideal. It keeps people interested. Why would people follow my Instagram if they are getting the same content in all of my other social media, right?
A: Could you name 3 young artists to keep an eye on?
AMCH: Tough one, but here are my choices:
Leonardo Martínez (Mexico) Website | Instagram
Christian Villacillo (Canada) Portfolio | Flickr | Tumblr | Instagram | Twitter
Mabel Favela (Mexico) Behance | Tumblr | Instagram | Twitter
A: What is your project for the coming year?
AMCH: Work. No one can sit and just wait to be discovered. Updating my online store at Society6 is a priority, and I also have a couple of books in the making. There are other surprises but I’d rather keep them private as they develop. Thanks again for the interview, it was a great way to start the year.
We sincerely thank Alejandro for taking the time to answer some questions for Artchipel’s Art Writer’s Wednesday #15. Alejandro can be found on the following sites:
Cargocollective | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook | Society6 | Instagram | Tumblr
[more Alejandro M. Campos Herrera | Art Writer’s Wednesday with Artchipel]
Rery, you’re one of a kind. This was a great way to start the year.