Friday, March 4, 2011

Interview : Mario Peña

You might have seen some beautiful images
photographed by the lovely Mario Peña floating around
thousands of blogs, Tumblr, even Facebook but more than half
the time the photos are linked without a name giving Peña no credit
for his gorgeous work. It wasn't until recently I figured out who
he was and how many shots I've already seen of his work and had no
idea it was him. If you read his artist statement, you'll find that his photographs
are as big as his heart. Such an inspiring photographer, check out my
interview with him here.

"My kind of art is not typically intellectual, but you will remember my photographs because they will resonate in your heart and I will touch you to leave an indelible fingerprint so hopefully you will start unlearning what made you forget that all your existence is about a feeling." -MP

GR: Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

M: Well, I am Mario Peña a 22 years old Fashion photographer, and I have been shooting seriously since August 2010, by the moment I spend my time between NY and LA. I like music a lot, always finding new sounds, I live in my own bubble to be honest.

GR: What is your inspiration behind your work.

M: I actually don’t like to get inspired from something visual, my inspiration comes from letter, music, my personal life, dreams, I am always listening music and imagine scenes or worlds, and write them and then I just adjust the idea to the project. That’s like the conceptual part of my work,

The visual part is just there, it comes natural, I don’t think that much about how to make my photos look how they look, now, but a while ago I did thought about it, I wanted my photos to be memorable and resemble dreams and love.

GR: How did you become interested in photography?

I’ve always been interested in images, I tried different mediums, but when I found photography it was exciting it was fun, allowed me to create something take it a photo and then destroy it! And I like the speed of the photography, I have no patience for other technique such as oil paint, even in photography I always shoot at really high speed, no I am kidding.

But I always have ideas in my mind, I always feel hungry to create something! Photography allowed me to combine everything.

GR: What cameras do you shoot with?

M: I just have two cameras, my professional camera, is a Canon 5D Mark II which I use it for my shoots and my instant film camera, a Fujifilm, which is use to take photos of things I want to remember, my personal life. I have a huge book full of memories, otherwise I wont be able to remember my life, I don't really remember much from 19 years old to younger.

GR: Current fav band(s) at the moment.

M: Fever Ray! Cat Power, Voxtrot, Ian Brown, Rumspringa.

GR: Do you have any photography tricks you can share with someone who is just starting out?

M: Tricks… mmmm… I don't know about tricks but an advice I like to give is just be true to yourself and work hard, the classic ha, but it works! Is like the best way to get to some place is walking, it might take you forever but you will get there for sure! also you have to understand the kind of monster that photography is, photography involves so many things, and is easy to tell when photos are not authentic, so the more you practice keeping things honest the more natural will come.

GR: Favorite alcoholic beverage.

M: I like vodka and shots, because when I ask for something I don’t know and just guide for the name I always end with really girly looking drinks, don’t know why! So I stick with Vodka, (don’t tell to anybody all right?)

GR: Night owl or early bird?

M: A bit of both I like to wake up early and do things that takes more time, like the shoots, go to meetings, go to get this or that and when the night comes I like to work on things more steady, edit the photos, marketing, at night I work much faster and focus easier. But I will say Night Owl, I like more how Night owl sounds! Than early bird

GR: 3 places to visit in NYC.

M: To be honest I haven't really had the chance to check much of the city, when I went to NY I said to myself, ok! you came for business keep it simple and work, well it was not that simple, the city has so much to offer but I was more into people than places. But I use to spend quiet some time in these three places:

I don't know why but I like the $1 pizza place in St Marks Place, is always a good stop.

Topshop in Soho, always checking new things and looking at the studded leather aviator hat with spikes that I never got.

Union Sq is a nice place, interesting people and things happening all the time. And from there you can go to anywhere, to Brooklyn, Soho, Midtown, the $1 pizza place...

All original images taken from Mario's website here.
Click here to explore more of his images.

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