Would you mind introducing yourself? My name is Laia, I’m a 21-year-old fine arts student from Barcelona. I don’t think I have yet developed a completely consistent and defining style as I still have much to learn and experiment, but what I can say about my style is that I always try to search for myself in my pictures, somehow metaphorically. I’m really interested in portraying emotions as well as using natural lights, softness and portraying intimacy. My photos are usually portraits of feelings. I try to show what makes me human, because my work is always showing a part of my soul, of my vulnerability, my fears, my joy…
Laia’s Instagram - @mgritte
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? When I was just a little kid I was obsessed with my dad’s old film camera. I would always grab it and ask him to let me hold it. I remember taking my first picture on a family vacation when I was about 5 years old, and my dad was really surprised with the outcome once he saw it. He has always encouraged me to take pictures because he felt like I had some type of eye for photography, which I am eternally grateful for.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? I’m sure I have many, from different trips and moments with my loved ones, but I remember clearly the first time I ‘portraited’ myself with a different intention than taking a selfie for Instagram. I was eighteen at the time and I had been taking pictures with my own cameras since I was twelve years old, but I never saw myself as a possible way to make art, to portray emotion and communicate with people. Those days were pretty rough for me, I was lost and angry and scared and not too fond of myself, and taking that picture made me see myself with kinder eyes.
What inspires your photography? Absolutely everything that surrounds me. I’m especially interested in cinema, and art in general, so I have many influences of all the films, paintings and photographs I’ve seen throughout my life. But besides art, daily life and the thoughts that go through my head all the time really have a big impact on what I make.
Camera & Editing Process? I shoot digital with my Nikon D5200, and when I shoot film, I always use borrowed cameras from the lab in my uni, so I really don’t know the exact cameras I use. Regardless if I shoot film or digital, I always stick to 50mm lenses, I feel the most comfortable working with them. As for editing, I always go simple on that. I’m all for natural results where you make the moment and the feeling of the picture shine alone on its own, as I find beauty especially in simplicity and delicate details. I always retouch using Photoshop, and what I normally do is correct the colour, contrast, saturation, curves… I really don’t do much in that aspect, sometimes I don’t even edit, especially if it’s film.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? Feel 'deeply.' For me, all my pictures are always connected with my state of mind in the specific moment I take a picture. I tend to feel emotions heavily, and I’ve always shown that in everything I create, regarding if it’s photography, drawing or film. Besides your technique and knowledge in the most objective aspects of photography -which are also incredibly important-, I think the biggest and most important part of creating images is making them meaningful. I’ve seen many pictures, technically very well made, that didn’t speak to me, that felt empty of a message. Know your camera and how to use it, but also try to know and understand yourself and the story you want to tell the world. And don’t get discouraged if you’re not happy with the results, we all go through that at some point. Keep practicing and being consistent, trust yourself and you’ll see yourself and your work grow in every sense. Always be kind to yourself.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Some of my favourite photographers are Joel-Peter Witkin, Rinko Kawauchi, Rineke Dijkstra, Duane Michals, Saul Leiter and Francesca Woodman; even though there are many others I admire and whose work has a great impact on mine. There are so many incredible artists on Instagram, but there’s concretely a photographer whose work I adore, @enmiljontystnader. My best friend showed me her photography and I can’t believe she is not known all over the world, I find her work mind-blowing. Some other photographers I also admire are @lauramakabresku, @lesliezhang1992, @l3oamaya, @m.irror.s…
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? Iceland would probably be it. I’d love to do portrait photography there, as the contrast between the human body and the nature there must be something incredibly interesting to study and experiment.
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? Probably early spring, even though I feel like every season has its own magic and its own colours and light, so shooting in each one of the seasons can make your pictures have very different meanings.
The coolest place you've ever been? It has to be Paris for now, but I haven’t been to that many cities. I want to travel much more and discover so many places.
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? I’m going to Japan this summer, which is another dream destination, and I can’t wait to take a ton of pictures there! I’m currently thinking of challenging myself and only bring a film camera to the trip, so I’ll have to think twice every time I feel like snapping a picture. I feel that whenever I go on a trip, I always take too many pictures that I never use or that I completely forget about, and there’s something to the idea of only shooting film in such a special trip that feels really attractive to me.
Anything extra you would like to share? I just want to say a big thank you to you for giving me this space to share my work, and to everyone who took the time to read my interview and check out my work. I’m insanely grateful and I can’t express how much it means. I really hope everyone enjoyed the part of my photography I’ve been able to show through you, and I want to encourage everyone to keep telling their story through images. We can make the world a little bit better by sharing.
Laia’s Instagram - @mgritte