Please introduce yourself
My name is Enrique Peláez. I´m from Mexico, but I moved to the United States years ago and established my residence in Houston, Texas, where I currently live with my wife and two children. I´m a fine art photographer who uses black and white as my favorite way to express myself because it allows me to focus on shapes and light that are the essence of photography.
How did you get interested in photography?
My interest in photography started when I was young. My father was an amateur photographer, so I grew up watching him working in the dark room. I really got passionate about it when I got my first digital DSLR about eight years ago. Since then I’ve experimented with all sorts of photography. Initially, I concentrated on landscape and color photography. However, as my artistic and technical skills evolved I decided to focus exclusively on black and white, and that is what I currently do.
Do you have an artistic/photographic background?
I have a strong technological background. I earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering, so when I started getting serious about the subject, my interest naturally focused on the technical aspects of the camera. Even today when I’m holding one in my hands, I need to fully understand how it functions so that I don’t have to rely on the camera automatically setting the controls. Bypassing this allows me to insure that my photographic and artistic visions come to fruition and are imbued with my specific style Despite being a “techie,” I’ve always been attracted to art, so mostly in an autodidactic way I’ve learned the fundamentals of the visual arts.
Which artist/photographer inspired your art?
I believe there are two big influences in my work: Edward Weston and Irving Penn. The tonal quality of Weston’s still lives is simply sublime, and this elevates photography to the highest level of art. In Penn’s work, I consider the modernist still lives and photographic travel essays unique and fascinating. As one explores my works on my website, the influence of these two masters is obvious.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph?
In my book there are two kind of images: planned and unplanned. With the latter, about 20 percent of my imaginary falls into this category. From time to time I do a bit of street photography and wildlife, so the preparation is more about researching locations where I can capture interesting image in these two genres. The other 80 percent is done in my home studio, mainly still life and abstracts where I love to experiment with objects and light. Because of this, the preparation of a single image can take days. Similarly, I usually spend long hours in post-processing when, at times, it can take days to process a single photo before I consider it ready to be printed.
Could you please tell us something about your technique and creating process?
For me the creating process starts well before the image is taken. I must have a depiction in my mind of the kind of image I want to create. This includes not just a visual representation but an overall understanding of the artistic intent for that particular image. This includes feelings I want to convey and the reaction I want to provoke, either positive or negative. The more defined those aspects are in my mind the better chances I have to create a successful image.
After this preparatory process, I go ahead and shoot. My primary camera is a Canon 7D that I use with different lenses, a 50mm prime, a 70 – 300 mm zoom, and a 10 – 22mm wide angle. These are my favorites; however I have others that I use for special situations. For post-processing, I use Photoshop CC and several PS plug-ins. After several years, I developed some CC and Nik’s Software presets that allow me to expedite my post-processing workflow. Finally, for printing I work with a laboratory that can make silver gelatin prints directly out of digital – either for images I put in galleries or that I sell as a limited edition. When I need inkjet fine art prints (that I sell on my website) I work with more commercial labs.
It´s hard to talk about any other hobby besides photography because it´s my passion. However, I’m also a marketing consultant working for a global technology company, an avid reader of fiction and nonfiction, and enjoy music, particularly jazz.
What future plans do you have? What projects would you like to accomplish?
I have three big projects that I’m working on. The first is a solo exhibition in New York where I’m working with a gallery in Chelsea. I anticipate that this will be the biggest project this year. The second is an art book. Last year I put together a book as a personal project. This year I´ll leverage the expertise I got putting together my personal project in order to produce a commercial book based on my imaginary. Last, but certainly not least, I’m working on several still life series that I plan to publish soon on my website and in social media.
Links to website and Social Media:
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EnriquePelaezPhotography
Google Plus: plus.google.com/+EnriquePelaez
ND Magazine Profile: ndmagazine.net/photographer/epelaez/