JRP: Antonio Diaz is a photographer I discovered on PhotoNet.com. His still life and macro work are truly eye catching. Thank you Antonio for sharing your thoughts and images with us.
Antonio Diaz: I am the thankful one. It is a true pleasure to share with you my vision of this passion that is photography.
JRP: Antonio where are you from and how did you get your start in photography? Did you have any formal training?
Antonio Diaz: I am from Seville, that is a city of large means in Spain.
I got my start in photography a little more than two years ago. My girlfriend gave me a digital camera. I did not have any previous knowledge and no experience. My first frustrating steps were hesitant until I discovered that photography is an art not very much removed from painting. I was always fond of painting of which I am self-taught.
I noticed that photography like painting is no more than a means of expression based on the transmission of sensations through light, color, and forms. I only had to adapt my knowledge of painting to photography.
JRP: What is it about still life and macro photography that endears them to you?
Antonio Diaz: I cannot say that I only enjoy macro and still life photography. Each one of us photographs what is closest to us. I am very conscious of many things around me, thus I put my eyes and attention to what is at hand.
When doing still life I give loose rein to my creativity. It is an area that allows a very free expression. In it I try to shape my photographs to the soul of works of artists like Zurbarán, Murillo, Vela’zquez, and Herrera. These were painters who developed their artistic activity during the 16th and 17th centuries in Seville, Spain.
My dedication to macro photography on the other hand is for learning the discipline, the dedication, the patience, and the complexity of pure photography.
I am lucky that I have a house with a great garden so I do not have to go far to find subjects.
JRP: Take me through some of your thoughts as you prepare to set-up and photograph a still life. Are there any special lighting considerations? What about props? How do you pick your props?
Antonio Diaz: I approach still life as if they were paintings. In still life I look for simplicity. Not to photograph many elements, but to center the vision of the spectator not to disperse it. It is necessary to find an idea that everything turns around. Also it is important that those objects are well framed. I look for zones with textures. With respect to the light, I use nothing special or expensive. I simply take advantage of window light. I try to work with flat lighting as much as possible.
JRP: Your macro work gives the viewer an intimate view of a sub-world often unnoticed. How do you approach it as compared to a still life?
Antonio Diaz: In macro photography the enchantment is in the taking of the image. The satisfaction does not come from the digital darkroom/computer but at the moment of the capture. In this type of photography there is practically no edition, only the strictly necessary one. I have learned to use timing with the camera. For example, I have invested a long time learning the behavior of libélulas (dragonflys) to be able to photograph them in flight. A task which challenges your patience and capacity to experiment.
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag?
Antonio Diaz: I use very modest equipment. At the moment I have a Canon EOS 350D which I hope to upgrade soon. For lenses I use a Canon 18-55mm (a lens unjustly criticized in my opinion), and a Canon 50mm f:1.4. For macro photography I have a Canon 100mm f:2.8.
JRP: What software do you make use of in your work flow?
Antonio Diaz: Exclusively Photoshop.
JRP: Antonio what is more important to you, technique or vision?
Antonio Diaz: I believe that they are the two faces of the same currency. It is not possible to understand one without the other. It is important what we say, and how we say it.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you so far by another photographer?
Antonio Diaz: That to be a good photographer one watches, sees, and then listens to their creative heart.
JRP: What advice you would offer to somebody interested in still life or macro photography?
Antonio Diaz: In the photographing of still life I would advise those who are interested to search all the museums that are within your reach. There one can learn from the great teachers of painting. Everything has been invented. The only thing there is to do is give it a personal interpretation.
With respect to macro photography, most important is to study the behavior of insects as they interact. Once you begin to understand their interactions and relationships you can show their other secrets.
JRP: Thanks again Antonio for sharing with us.
Antonio Diaz: Thank you James for interest in my humble work.
JRP: To view more of Antonio Diaz’s work please visit this link: