Interview with Jose Maria Garcia from Spain

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Jose Maria Garcia

Jose Maria Garcia developed an interest in photography during his travels, driven by a desire to capture the environments, moments, and emotions he was experiencing. For Garcia, photography remains a passion that continues to evolve.

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?

Born in Albacete (Spain), I spend 14 years living in London. This gave me the opportunity to travel around the world.

I became intrigued by photography during these travels as I wanted to capture the environments, moments and feelings that I was experiencing. Photography continues to be an evolving passion for me.

2Where did you study photography?

While photography isn't my primary field of study, it has always captivated my interest. I've developed my skills in this art form through self-teaching, diligently reading, watching various tutorials, and engaging in extensive practice to refine my technique.

Recently, I began attending a photography academy in Denia, Spain, which has opened up new horizons for me in the world of photography. This experience has allowed me to explore different genres like portrait, macro, and astrophotography. There's no better way to learn than in the company of fellow photography enthusiasts who share the same passion.

3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I don't remember a specific shot, but I first started taking photos of friends and family on a film camera many years ago.
4What equipment do you use?

Fuji X-T4 and a variety of lenses, ranging from wide angle to tele-zoom depending on the subject.

Lee ND and polariser filters is always in my bag when shooting landscapes.

5What do you hope to achieve?
As an amateur photographer, my ultimate dream is to sustain myself through my photography. Yet, even if that dream remains unfulfilled, I find great satisfaction in continuously learning, evolving my photography style, and inspiring others with my work. The journey of artistic growth and the ability to touch lives through my photographs is deeply fulfilling in itself.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
The feedback that I get from my partner, family and friends.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?

My inspiration is drawn from the breathtaking beauty of our planet, the diverse landscapes, and the fascinating wildlife it harbors. Immersing myself in nature, experiencing its myriad moods, and observing animals in their natural habitat is a source of immense enjoyment for me.

In my photography, I strive to encapsulate not just the visual splendour of these moments, but also the feelings and emotions they stir within me, hoping to convey the same depth and intensity through my images.

8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Observational, reflective and emotive.
9Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 London Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
I am thrilled and humbled to have my work recognised by one of the most prestigious photography awards out there. It is my dream seeing my work published amongst the other winner's outstanding photographs.
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

At the end of the first wave of the COVID pandemic, I wanted to capture the impact on the City of London of the extraordinary events that were taking place.

At the time, my partner and I resided near Central London, which provided us the opportunity to explore the city on bike rides. One of our routes took us through More London Place, a bustling street renowned for its stunning views of Tower Bridge and City Hall. I have always been captivated by this particular perspective, where two of London's most iconic landmarks seem to converge at the end of the street, creating a fascinating and picturesque scene.

When we arrive there, the image that I had visualised in my mind came to life. The beautiful view from More London Place in a completely empty street. The cloudy skies enhanced the dramatic tone of the image. All I needed to do is set up my tripod in the middle of the street and shoot.

"Deserted London" is a picture I have always been fond of and wanted to submit it to a competition. What better one than the London Photography Awards, and what a delight to have it awarded as Category Winner of the Year!

My other two entries were awarded as Gold Winners:

- "Cliffs of Moher" is a picture of the breathtaking views in one of my favourite places in my partner's home country, Ireland. I could spend hours photographing the cliffs.

- "Kabuyoko" is a portrait of the silverback of the family of mountain gorillas that we encounter in our trip to the Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Without a doubt, one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
It is difficult to say as it is my first award and it is still something recent. Seeing my work recognised by top industry professionals is such an honour. It encourages me to keep on working on developing my skills and try to inspire people with my photographs.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Steve McCurry, Sebastiao Salgado and Allan Schaller.
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
The camera doesn't define you as a photographer. Learn the basics of photography. Master light and composition. Then, focus on your vision.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

Quoting Steve McCurry, one of my favourite photographers of all time: "If you want to be a photographer, first leave home".

Get out there, be curious and practice. Experiment with different genres, as with each of them you will add something new to your toolkit. This learning journey will help you defining your own style.

15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I have always pursued my dreams, even if it meant making decisions that may go against the tide.

You create your own opportunities by following your passion.

16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?

Being receptive to new information and knowledge are key drivers to continuous development. I strive to be up to date with the latest trends, whether those are technological or artistic.

Following other photographers' work is a main source of my inspiration.

Winning Entries

Jose Maria Garcia

Chema Garcia

Jose Maria Garcia developed an interest in photography during his travels, driven by a desire to capture the environments, moments, and emotions he was experiencing. For Garcia, photography remains a passion that continues to evolve.

Read more about this interview with Atsuko MIURA from Japan, the Gold Winner of the 2023 London Photography Awards.