Photographer Isabel Val currently lives and works in Budapest and works primarily in analog or film photography, which she manipulates with watercolor pigments to create prismatic images of city life and landscape. I love how bright they are, and the effects that the paint have on the prints.
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YS: So tell me a bit about yourself! Are you from Barcelona originally? And what has brought you to Budapest?
IV: Yes, I was born in Barcelona. As a kid, I lived in a smaller city nearby and then I moved again to the capital to study and to work. I moved to Budapest in May of 2015. I decided to make a break in my life and I went there to volunteer for a year in an environmental association. During that period, I discovered a city full of life and inspiration for me, so I decided to stay for a little bit longer.
What first interested you in photography?
After high school, I started to study media production because I had been always interested in audiovisuals, but I never saw myself as an artist of any kind. I started to play with video and photography and it was then when I discovered a new world with plenty of possibilities. I needed to find a creative vehicle to express myself, and I found it in photography. I think that's the good side of the democratization of photography: that it's not as scary to try as other mediums.
I decided to study artistic photography and since then my love for photography has been only increasing.
What I like more about photography is all its experimental possibilites, how you can get as abstract as you want, always having reality as a starting point.
Can you tell me a bit about the series Surrealismo Cotidiano? When did you first start experimenting with the different effects on the film?
Since I learned about analogue processes, I started my experimentation in the darkroom: making chemigrams or abstract photography based on music vibration... In 2014, I moved to the countryside for a while and I didn't have any access to a darkroom nor the possibility to make my own, so I started to experiment with what I have: an scanner and painting.
I shot this series with black and white film and, after developing it, I painted the negatives with concentrated watercolour pigments.
I experimented simply with what surrounds me, with my everyday landscapes, trying to escape from routine and adding once again an uncontrolled element to my images. In this case, the concentrated watercolour pigments. It is expanded once it touched the negative, changes the density as time goes by, and even the colours are altered when I scan them.
The result is a series of psychedelic and dreamy landscapes, where any ordinary place can have suddenly a magic atmosphere, breaking this way all the barriers between what it's consider quotidian or special.
Who or what are some of your major influences?
I think I am influenced by everything that surrounds me, including the places I go or the music I listen to. When I started this project, I was very much into 70's psychedelic rock, and I think its influence it's quite obvious :)
What do you feel is the most exciting or fulfilling aspect of pursuing photography as an art?
That the amount of topics and experimentation possibilities are endless.
What do you find to be the most challenging part?
I think the most challenging part is to find your own style or interests. Everyday, we are exposed to thousand of images, so it's not easy to be able to stop it and do your own work, in an honest way, independently, if it's trendy or not.
What is some of the best advice you've ever received (about life, career, art, etc.)?
To be persistent. If you have an idea, you have to work on it, rethink it, develop it, make it grow. It's not an easy process because we are too used to having everything immediately and art requires patience.
Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions?
Anything else you would like to add?
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