This week we're focusing on the photography of Ismael Juan (@ismael_j.s). There is a darkness to Juan's art that is captivating. Shadows mixed with extraordinary color tell stories and draw out emotions and a touch of romance. We share both his images and his words here. Read and enjoy!
Hi! My name is Ismael Juan. I'm from Bilbao in the north of Spain. I live with two cats like a good catlover. In this interview you are going to read a little about my life, about photography and the secret of eternal youth.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Well. Actually, I did not really like to study. I was a normal boy with many fantasies for the future. I was the guy who sat in the last row looking out the window and dreaming of things. In the end I ended up a computer science graduate.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
To respond properly to that question I would have to be reborn. So let's imagine that I was born again snd when I grew up I wanted to be someone who knows how to live my life and not the lives of others. I would also like to be in any specialty of the art world. And of course I would like to be. Wolverine. And if a was a color I would be the green
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
In Spain, and I think in the world too, the Basque Country is very famous for its food. Very filling and very tasty. But my favorite food is everything that is about potato and pasta, in all its specialties. If you ever come to Bilbao you will be surprised by the food.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
Oh yeah! Cat. I'm a real cat-love. I have two cats: Orazio (16 yo) and Vincenzo (15 yo). They are the kings of my house.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITiES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
This answer is very clear to me: Batman and Catwoman of the 80s. Have you seen them? They were true and authentic influencers. Those tight tights...
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM?
I think my skills in dancing. I've never been a professional dancer, but I have won some competitions. When I listen to music my legs begin to shake!
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It would be any power that has anything to do with peace, respect and good behavior. But now that no is listening, I have to confess that I have a superpower. I have the ''slow motion superpower'' every morning when I wake up.
Also, I would have to think about' the "house cleaning superpower". I'm on the sofa so I will have to take a look at that one.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?
I have always liked photography. Since I was little I have always been curious. I remember that I kept looking at the people who carried cameras and took pictures, thinking about how the world would look from that perspective.
Now I have photography as a hobby. The way you can shape how you see the world, leaving a record of the wonders of nature or the wonders created by the human beings. Photography tells and expresses things that we all want to tell. In my case, I edit the photos. I also like editing to give a view of how it is and how it could be. Photography keeps you interested because I think it's an infinite world where you never stop learning.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
I have used some other social photography networks, but nowadays I only use Instagram. Instagram is a very good platform to interact with people and exchange ideas and comments about photography.
You can learn a lot by watching the work of other photographers; different styles and different ideas that makes you experience and improve day after day. It can serve as a window to see sights from other parts of the world. And you also find good people that deserve to be known.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
Yes. My body of course. The day that I post my best profile photo I will be a great influencer.
I don't think I have anything specific to communicate. I like nature and I like to capture what is around me. I like to try styles and techniques that may sometimes have something to do with the state of mind that I have that day. I just do it because I like it.
HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
When I started using Mextures, I think everything was according to the mood; happy days, sad days. You know. I think that influenced me a lot when I created edits. Everything could vary in color, black and white, light, darkness, etc. That's why I like Mextures so much. It gives you infinite possibilities in editing.
Also it has to be said that the section of guest formulas is great because you can use formulas of great artists.
Now, lately I have changed my style. My favorite color is green, so I try to make green the protagonist. The first retouching I do in Lightroom. Changing tones, playing with greens, and playing with curves. I finish up retouching the photo with Mextures to give the textures.
HOW SPECIFICALLY DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
As I said before, I use Mextures in an infinite number of ways. Sometimes you have so many editing possibilities and you like all of the final results.
There are days that I only use Mextures and play with all of the settings, and other days the final touches I complete in mextures.
With Mextures I feel like a sorcerer mixing potions.
CAN YOU SHARE A FEW OF YOUR FORMULAS?
JUMBNIN - bluedaisy - I like to use this formula with daisies or white flowers because it obscures the environment and gives a bluish touch to the petals.
YPVHPJB - yellowdaisy - This formula gives the light of the last moments of a sunset.
WJDWEVF - pinkdandelion - This formula gives a romantic touch. Ideal for flowers and skies.
QBGRHBY - colorshark - I like to use this formula with macro shots. Predominately green and blue while focusing attention on the center of the pic.
XYTBEVT - greenday - And of course, the protagonist, green; my favorite color. Ideal for green backgrounds.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEXTURES THAT MAKES IT A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Mextures is a vital piece in my edits because it has many characteristics and a variety of very particular adjustments. The textures and ability to play with them are unique. You can give an environment of light and color or the opposite with dark and little color. With Mextures you can express your emotions.
CHOOSE TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE IMAGES. WHAT MAKES THEM STAND OUT TO YOU?
One of my favorites is the picture of the snail sleeping in the middle of the flower. It is totally edited with mextures and I like it because the center of attention is in the snail and his bed. It shows a sweet and quiet moment. Or, who knows? A rest after a long night of bachelor party.
The second one is the sunset pic, I like it because it gives a warm and welcoming tone to the pic, like a window where we can see some of the most beautiful colors of the day. Very, very romantic.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
What inspires me to create is the ability to tell stories with pics. To express feelings and let fly the imagination of what is and what could be. Also, showing people what I've seen and what's around me.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
I'm sorry, but it would be impossible to mention all of the names.
@f_u_g_a_z, @essence.of.e, @keltorrance, @_.afka._, @christel_ma, @sh.iranique, @veyr, @anjastreber, @_stephanie.shots_, @abysseo, @villy_pics, @aredheadfocus, @bubadibub, @lalimy74, @johannasivertsdotter, @gladbach4ever2, @andyskeptik, @fridakittten, @bea01, and @howard.christa. All these people are masters in flowers and macro.
There are so many more!
See more of Ismael's work here!