artist spotlight: david frutos

Portrait David Frutos (c) David Zurita

Portrait David Frutos (c) David Zurita

If you had to describe your overall photographic vision in 25 words or less, what words would you choose? Drama, clouds, movement, minimalism, shapes, lines, points, loneliness … my frame of mind tells me what it wants to transmit.

And the Pier (c) David Frutos

And the Pier (c) David Frutos

Why are you so drawn to long exposure photography?

These kinds of  images transport me to moments that the usual human vision is not able to witness. It helps, like no other technique, to highlight formal elements of the composition; it provides big doses of dynamism, unreality and fantasy at the same time. I feel so attracted to these kind of photographs that when I leave my house to look for locations, I only think of finding something well worth immortalizing in this way.

Why do you prefer black and white photography?

This question is very easy for me to answer, Nathan. I prefer black and white because of its full timelessness. We also have to take into account that I am not only a photographer in black and white; in my works you can also find images in really explosive colours. Indeed, recently one of my colour images got the Second Award in Nature category and the First Award in Trees category in the prestigious international contest “Px3 Prix de la Photographie Paris 2013”.

Who are three of your favorite photographers, and, more importantly, how has your appreciation of their work affected how you approach your own photography?

"Mushroom of Salt" (c) David Frutos

“Mushroom of Salt” (c) David Frutos

Without any doubt, I must say José B. Ruiz, a modern-day nature photographer from Spain who has been awarded internationally. His way of watching the landscape (among other disciplines) matches very well with mine. His compositions are always made of simple lines. He structures the image so that it fixes and focuses the look and the attention of the viewer, guiding the viewer to a background that is always well selected. He usually says in his talks and courses that what a photographer should do, first of all (especially for landscapes), is to look for a good background to frame and after that to look for the foreground.

I can’t forget José María Mellado. Lots of photographers and contemporary artists feed from his work. There is a lot of controversy about his compositions; some love them and others hate them. For me, the more important thing about his work is how he treats the light. He works with it in a masterly way. He is a wizard at making viewers read the image the way he chooses it to be read.

In the international scene, there are many photographers that I enjoy every day. Ansel AdamsMichael KennaMichael LevinJosef Hoflehner, Joel Tjintjelaar [slices of silence interview], Keith Aggett  [slices of silence spotlight], Nathan Wirth, Will S, Thomas Leong, Michel Rajkovic, Xavier Rey, Rohan Reilly, [slices of silence spotlight], Fabrice Silly. And I can’t forget my mate of photographic outputs: my teacher, my friend, Mariano Belmar. There are many more that I can’t mention for lack of space.

What artistic influences, outside of photography, have had a significant influence on how you approach your photography (for example, painters, filmmakers, musicians, poets, etc.)?

"^ ^ ^" (c) David Frutos

“^ ^ ^” (c) David Frutos

Undoubtedly, I have been totally influenced by William Turner ever since first discovering him. I am moved by his way of working the landscape, the dramatic, cloudy atmospheres, the intense skies full of nuances and volumes, and especially, his masterly interpretation of the light. Other artists that I enjoy for their attention to light and contrast are Velazquez, Rembrandt, Zurbaran (the light, the gloomy, chiaroscuro present in his works have always fascinated me).

What are your thoughts about trying to find the best gear possible versus working on making the best possible image with the gear you already have?

Without any doubt I would be right if I were to say that all photographers would like to be able to enjoy the best, high performance gear on the market. But in this regard, we have to be realistic. If your volume of work, the use of it (photo paper, internet, press…) are not very important, I think you should not go crazy finding the all gear that you desire. I am sure that with time all will improve. My gear does not include the best lens or the best camera on the market. I have just those items that allow me to make my work with ease.

"Equilibrium" (c) David Frutos

“Equilibrium” (c) David Frutos

How would you define fine art?

In my opinion this discipline would include all that the human being are able to create, all that are able to express what is in the mind and translate it to any medium, whether photographic, pictoral, etc.

If you had to come up with one very important lesson that you think every photographer needs to learn, what would it be?

I have no doubt about it. One must be the first critic. One should be aware his or herself whether an image works or not. And maybe the most important thing is to accept bad criticism and learn from it in order to grow and achieve better recognition. What I always say when I talk with friends and acquaintances about photography: is that when you are out taking images do not stop d until you have exploited all the possibilities that an area has– and when you think that you have finished, then keep on shooting. Likely the first idea is the good one, but you often find more than a joy in those moments when you get home and look over what you captured.

What are your thoughts about the benefits of online sharing? Are there any particular social media or image sharing sites you prefer or do not prefer?

"Two Minutes in a Dangerous Position" (c) David Frutos

“Two Minutes in a Dangerous Position” (c) David Frutos

These sorts of sites, like social networks, are tools that you can use for bringing your work cheaply, quickly and easily to all the corners of the world. From my point of view, it is one of the best ways to show your work. There are many sites to promote your photographic work, but maybe I would like to highlight the two that I prefer flickr and 500px. I also like Google+ as well as Twitter, which is very useful for promoting my work as well as keeping me informed about the events happening in the world of photography.

I also would like to highlight two of the more elitist sites like 1x.com and whytake.net. You can find in them large sources of inspiration and admire the good work of many photographers. Finally I will mention two sites specialized in fine art, Art Limited and Stark Magazine, two places that I often post my work (especially the second one). At both sites, you can enjoy a high quality level of work and receive quality and valid feedback, criticism and appreciation for your own work.

What photographic cliché or common photography question, if any, irritates you the most?

The truth is that there is no question that irritates me; quite to the contrary, it is always a pleasure to answer all the questions that I am asked because that means that my message has reached its objective and it has aroused the interest in those viewers that take the time to prepare some questions. There is only one photography-related thing that really irritates me. That is when someone asks me for the location of where I have taken the photograph– mainly because most times they want to try to make the same photograph I did. On that score, I am not worried because no one really takes the same photograph; always there is something that changes. But one of the jobs of a photographer is to look for the right location for the image he wants to catch. That means effort, time and expenses that others want to take advantage of without any effort. And I think that is not good.

"Four in the Field" (c) David Frutos

“Four in the Field” (c) David Frutos

If you were stranded on an island, and you could have one camera, one lens, one filter, one tripod, two books, and ten CDs, what would they be and why?

"The Lonely Rock" (c) David Frutos

“The Lonely Rock” (c) David Frutos

My 5D Mark II, my great angular Canon 17-40mm L, my Lee  Big Stopper, my  Manfrotto tripod (This is one of the more important and essential items to do my works); With all of them I would be happy. I know that you did not ask me about it, but I would also bring my my computer to process whatever I could find to photograph there, “jaja!”  I am not so keen on reading books, unless those of other photographers’ works; I love those. That is why I would bring  Michael Levin’s Zebrato ( my favourite one) and Michael Kenna’s Images of Seventh Day  a must for anyone who cares about black and white photography.

Music
Depeche Mode – 101
Herores del Silencio –  El espíritu del vino
Erasure –  Greatest Hits
Guns’n’Roses –  Greatest Hits
Metallica – S&M

And a CD of my family in order not to forget them never. I always like good music. That is why I chose a variety of styles.

Are there any specific directions that you would like to take your photography in the future or any specific goals that you wish to achieve?

In the short run I would like to tackle photography projects about architecture and wildlife. I also would like to publish a book with a good representation of my work.

"m" (c) David Frutos

“m” (c) David Frutos

Is there any specific place that you would like to visit to take photos?

I am looking forward to visiting Iceland, to be with my camera in front of those locations that I have seen so many times in images from the internet and in books which I have at home. After viewing the works of Jose María Mellado, Josef Hoflehner, Michael Levin and Rafael Rojas among others, that island has aroused my interest.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

I just would like to thank you, Nathan, for the opportunity that you have given me to express with words and photographs all that I think about my work and the world of photography. It has been a pleasure and a honour for me to work with you. Thank you, my friend.

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Explore more of  David’s photography: Website | flickr | 500px | Google+  | Art Limited | Stark Magazine

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Spotlight on Three Images

“Danger, Storm!!!” (c) David Frutos Arguably, this was the first photograph I took that I planned to convert to B&W. I was inspired by Michael Levin's image “Spring Field”.  When I drove through the fields in Murcia, in the south-east of Spain, I could see that the sky threatened to storm. It was the right moment that this image came to my mind. Suddenly I remembered Levin's photo, which I had seen recently in a book. I was sure that the contrast between the white and the deep gray would provide great visual impact and great expressive force. At the same time the use of a “gran angular” wide –angle would give to the photo an extra sense of depth. To process my images, my working method is always the same. First of all I use Lightroom for file setting the RAW files temperature, colour, contrast, lights and shadows setting, approach…etc. After that I convert the image (still in colour) in Photoshop where I clean out the dust, correct the horizon, cut out and/or reframe (if it is necessary). Finally I use Silver Efex Pro in order to convert it into B&W and then take it back again to Photoshop where I finish processing the scene by zones using layers of levels and curves, zone approach and noise reduction.

“Danger, Storm!!!” (c) David Frutos
Arguably, this was the first photograph I took that I planned to convert to B&W. I was inspired by Michael Levin’s image “Spring Field”. When I drove through the fields in Murcia, in the south-east of Spain, I could see that the sky threatened to storm. It was the right moment that this image came to my mind. Suddenly I remembered Levin’s photo, which I had seen recently in a book. I was sure that the contrast between the white and the deep gray would provide great visual impact and great expressive force. At the same time the use of a “gran angular” wide –angle would give to the photo an extra sense of depth.
To process my images, my working method is always the same. First of all I use Lightroom for file setting the RAW files temperature, colour, contrast, lights and shadows setting, approach…etc. After that I convert the image (still in colour) in Photoshop where I clean out the dust, correct the horizon, cut out and/or reframe (if it is necessary). Finally I use Silver Efex Pro in order to convert it into B&W and then take it back again to Photoshop where I finish processing the scene by zones using layers of levels and curves, zone approach and noise reduction.

“The Pole (Centered Version)”  (c) David Frutos I have visited this location many times, but the circumstances were never what I was looking for. When the sky was perfect, the tide was not good enough and vice versa. It was a marvellous winter day when-- because of my job-- I wdrove near that place in the morning and I thought that in the evening it would be a good chance to try it again. I knew that I would not have much time to catch that halved telephone pole that the strong stream put on the top of those rocks. I stood in front of it in the evening and just two shots were enough to get what I was looking for some days before. I have chosen this image because it is part of a series of 5 images called “Shorelines” that got a Honourable Mention in the 2011 “International Photography Awards of Los Angeles” contest.  As for the processing, you can read what I wrote in the image above. But in this case I also decided to delete the horizon in order to create a stronger dose of fantasy as well as the B&W.

“The Pole (Centered Version)” (c) David Frutos
I have visited this location many times, but the circumstances were never what I was looking for. When the sky was perfect, the tide was not good enough and vice versa. It was a marvellous winter day when– because of my job– I wdrove near that place in the morning and I thought that in the evening it would be a good chance to try it again. I knew that I would not have much time to catch that halved telephone pole that the strong stream put on the top of those rocks. I stood in front of it in the evening and just two shots were enough to get what I was looking for some days before. I have chosen this image because it is part of a series of 5 images called “Shorelines” that got a Honourable Mention in the 2011 “International Photography Awards of Los Angeles” contest. As for the processing, you can read what I wrote in the image above. But in this case I also decided to delete the horizon in order to create a stronger dose of fantasy as well as the B&W.

“One Almond Tree Under the Storm”  (c) David Frutos This image represents the first recognition of my work with an award in a national photographic contest. I received first prize for this photograph.  I have to admit that this photo was the result of good luck. A friend and I were walking in the country in Cieza (Murcia-Spain) on a winter afternoon. We were looking for locations with almond blossoms for future photo shoots, when, suddenly, the sky darkened and it started raining. Just behind us the sky was blue and the sunshine drew those two beautiful rainbows behind the almond tree that you see in the image. That magic moment lasted just 3 minutes. I can say that, in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s words, it was a turning point. My decision to convert the image to B&W was based on my desire to create surprise and uncertainty for the contest jury. After the awards ceremony, a member of the jury told me that that had been one of the things that rated the work more highly. I wanted to escape from the typical image containing a nice rainbow.  When I processed it, the most difficult task was to keep the white of the almond blossoms inside the histogram while, at the same time, highlighting them enough to give them the focus in the image that they deserve.

“One Almond Tree Under the Storm” (c) David Frutos
This image represents the first recognition of my work with an award in a national photographic contest. I received first prize for this photograph. I have to admit that this photo was the result of good luck. A friend and I were walking in the country in Cieza (Murcia-Spain) on a winter afternoon. We were looking for locations with almond blossoms for future photo shoots, when, suddenly, the sky darkened and it started raining. Just behind us the sky was blue and the sunshine drew those two beautiful rainbows behind the almond tree that you see in the image. That magic moment lasted just 3 minutes. I can say that, in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s words, it was a turning point.
My decision to convert the image to B&W was based on my desire to create surprise and uncertainty for the contest jury. After the awards ceremony, a member of the jury told me that that had been one of the things that rated the work more highly. I wanted to escape from the typical image containing a nice rainbow. When I processed it, the most difficult task was to keep the white of the almond blossoms inside the histogram while, at the same time, highlighting them enough to give them the focus in the image that they deserve.

A Few More Images

All images on this page– unless otherwise noted– are protected by copyright and may not be used  for any purpose without David Frutos‘ permission. The text on this page is protected by copyright and may not be used for any purpose without David Frutos or Nathan Wirth‘s permission.

 

3 Comments

  1. Waheed Akhtar June 15, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Great informative interview. It’s always good to learn about other photographers. Thanks Nathan for arranging and putting this together. Very helpful.

  2. David Frutos May 15, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

    I want to thank you for the opportunity you give me to participate in this series of interviews.
    It’s truly wonderful, Nathan!
    Thank you for your time!

    David Frutos

    • curator May 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

      You’re very welcome, David. Thank you for taking the time to do it.

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