Interview with Rosa Gomez from Spain

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Rosa Gomez

Rosa Gomez allows her motto of ‘a gaze with soul’ to guide her photography as it is an intrinsic part of herself that she has been invested in since her early childhood.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Photography Awards Winner – Rosa Gomez

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

Certainly, I would be happy to introduce myself and share my journey into photography. My name is Rosa Gómez, and I am a photographer whose motto is "a gaze with soul." From a very early age, I have been taking photographs with a camera that my grandmother gave me. I remember that moment with great nostalgia and since then, I have never stopped taking pictures.

Photography is an intrinsic part of me and I have a photographic eye that I cannot and do not want to avoid. I am always attentive to the light, shapes, framing and emotions. I have the great ability to have a high level of empathy and sensitivity, which allows me to reflect the soul of the people I photograph.

For me, photography is a communication system, perhaps the most complete, as it can provide both objective and subjective information. Although technique is essential and necessary, what makes me stand out is my high sensitivity. I believe that my unique perspective comes from my deep empathy and sensitivity, which allows me to connect with my subjects and capture their essence.

My journey in photography intensified when I began a professional project to showcase the value of my community and its people. It was a significant challenge because, as they say, "it is difficult to be a prophet in your own land." After traveling the world for several years, I decided to settle back in my home village, La Alberca, one of the most beautiful places in the Sierra de Francia region of the Salamanca province.

I established my Photography and Communication company and began sending reports and chronicles of La Alberca to all the newspapers in the province of Salamanca, as well as sharing my work on social media. It was a very satisfying time because I not only enjoyed myself but also highlighted the value of my own community.

I was later given the opportunity to lead the delegation of the Sierra de Francia region for "Salamanca Rtv al día," where I developed this role for several years. During this time, I also worked with the writer José Luis Puerto on a very emotional section called "Words for an Image”. My reflective, thoughtful, and independent way of working eventually led me back to my professional project in a more independent way.

I left journalism and began creating reports for cultural and tourism promotion for official organizations. However, realizing the lack of interest in traditional culture by official organizations, I embarked on my most fulfilling project to date, "Visual Anthropology."

In short, photography has always been an integral part of my life, and I have dedicated myself to capturing the soul of the people and communities I photograph. I believe my unique perspective and empathetic approach sets me apart as a photographer of prestige.

2Where did you study photography?
Although my degree is in Linguistics and Spanish Literature, I have taken several photography courses in Toronto and Utrecht. I have also studied Graphic Design in Salamanca, and I hold a Master's degree in Marketing and Advertising from ESIC, Pozuelo de Alarcón. I have never stopped learning about photography, and every day is an opportunity to do so. I stay up-to-date with all the new techniques. The most important way I have learned is through practice, taking many photographs.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I don't actually remember my first photograph but I do remember as a very young girl playing photographer. I also remember creating lighting schemes, sets and selecting outfits to do photo shoots with my sister.
4What equipment do you use?
I have been working with Nikon for many years and I mainly use two full-frame cameras depending on the context of the shoot. Although I always have the best equipment, I believe that the most important thing in photography is the photographer's eye, not the camera. Moreover, in my photographs, the camera is not the final point as I continue the creative process with other tools.
5What compliment inspired/touched you the most?

Well, I've been lucky enough to receive some wonderful compliments throughout my career but there are two that particularly stand out for me. The first one is from the writer Jose Luis Puerto, who described my work as 'una mirada con alma' (a gaze with a soul), which is actually my motto. It was truly touching to hear such a beautiful description of my style and approach.

The second compliment is from the painter Florencio Maíllo, who said that "Rosa has the ability to connect the present, which she observes, with the past of memory because she knows, understands, and perceives." This was particularly meaningful for me because it highlighted the importance of memory and history in my work. Overall, I'm grateful for all the kind words and recognition I've received over the years, as they inspire me to keep pushing myself and improving as a photographer.

6What inspires your unique storytelling?
Well, my greatest inspiration comes from Flemish and Impressionist paintings. I also draw inspiration from classic cinema and literature. However, my greatest source of inspiration comes from living very close to nature.
7What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Emotive, intimate and authentic.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the MUSE Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?

Thank you so much! Winning this award is truly an honor for me. It means a lot to be recognized by such a prestigious international photography competition. It gives me a sense of validation and encouragement to continue pursuing my passion for photography.

This award also opens up new opportunities for me to showcase my work and gain exposure in the photography industry. I am grateful for the recognition and hope to continue pushing myself creatively to produce even better work in the future.

Overall, winning this award is a great accomplishment for me and I am thrilled to be recognized for my hard work and dedication to photography. But honestly, I don't tend to put too much stock in praise or criticism. My career is a marathon not a sprint. However, I am incredibly grateful for these awards.

Winning an international competition and receiving important gold and silver trophies is a huge boost to my career, and I hope to make the most of it. It's especially meaningful to me because I'm a bit isolated from the photography world in my small town.

9Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
I chose two photographs that showcase the culture and identity of my region, Sierra de Francia. I entered these photographs because I wanted to showcase the beauty and richness of my region's culture and identity and I believe that the MUSE Photography Awards is a platform that values and celebrates cultural diversity and creativity. I hope that my work can inspire others to appreciate and celebrate the unique aspects of their own cultures and traditions.
10How has winning an award developed your career?

As an established photographer, winning an award has definitely helped me to gain more recognition and exposure in the industry. It has opened up new opportunities for me to showcase my work and connect with other professionals, which has been invaluable in terms of expanding my network and furthering my career.

Winning an award has also given me a sense of validation and encouragement to continue pursuing my artistic vision and pushing the boundaries of my craft. It is a great honor to be recognized for my work, and I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way as a result of this achievement.

11Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Ruth Matilda Anderson, José Ortiz Echagüe and Vivian Maier.
12What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
The best piece of advice I was given starting out was to believe in myself.
13What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?

My advice would be to focus on developing your own unique vision and style, and not get too caught up in comparing yourself to others. It's important to study and learn from other photographers, but ultimately you should strive to create images that are true to your own vision and reflect your own perspective.

Another important aspect is to practice consistently and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Experiment with different techniques and styles, and don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes. Also, seek out opportunities to collaborate with other creatives and build relationships in the industry.

Finally, always be open to learning and growing, whether through attending workshops or classes. It's important to stay curious and motivated in order to continue developing your skills and evolving as a photographer.

14What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Connecting on a personal level and truly capturing the essence of each person is important to me. As far as parting words of wisdom, I would say always follow your passion and be true to yourself. Don't let others dictate what you should or shouldn't do, and always keep learning and growing as an artist and as a person. And most importantly, never forget the power of human connection in creating meaningful art.

Remember that success can mean different things to different people, so define your own goals and values and work towards them with determination and dedication.

15How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?

As a photographer, I believe it's crucial to stay open to new experiences, perspectives, and knowledge. One of the things that keep me receptive is continuous learning. I attend workshops, conferences, and exhibitions to learn from other photographers, artists, and experts in the field. I also stay up to date with the latest technological advancements and trends in the industry, which allows me to experiment with new techniques and styles.

Additionally, I try to keep an open mind and am always willing to listen to feedback and constructive criticism, which helps me grow both professionally and personally.

16Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
As a photographer, I would like to encourage everyone to pursue their passion, even if it seems difficult or challenging at times. With dedication and hard work, anything is possible. And always remember to stay true to your own unique style and vision. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences.

Winning Entries

Shine your light | 2023

Shine your light | Rosa Gomez
"Survival of an Ancestral World" is a powerful photograph that is part of my Visual Anthropology project. My aim with this project is to accurately transfer ...
(Read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

"Survival of an ancestral world" | 2023

Survival of an ancestral world | Rosa Gomez
"Survival of an Ancestral World" is a powerful photograph that is part of my Visual Anthropology project. My aim with this project is to accurately transfer to society...
(Read more at MUSE Photography Awards)

Rosa Gomez

Rosa Gomez allows her motto of ‘a gaze with soul’ to guide her photography as it is an intrinsic part of herself that she has been invested in since her early childhood.

Read more about this interview with Glenn Goldman from the United States, the Category Winner of the 2023 MUSE Photography Awards.