In the era of selfies and influencers, is documenting everyday life from a neutral standpoint still possible?
Do you know about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? It is about measuring particles. The theory states that you can’t measure something without altering it during the process. Now, what does that have to do with photography? If you look around at the pictures, you will see an altercation. It’s so blatant that it has become a part of our lives. Artificiality.
There’s a street photographer who’s working on beating this theory. Does he seek to revolutionize the industry? Not exactly. He just wants depict the scenes he comes across every day, without altering it in the very process. For that, he’s always walking the extra mile.
Daniel Valledor aims to capture everyday moments through his camera. There are countless challenges. The objective is to catch pictures without altering the scene in any manner. The reality photographer aims to bring you moments that are ‘pure’ and ‘honest’ to the best capabilities.
Hence, each photography is authentic candid, without any pose. Any image where the subject reacts to the camera prior to the capture -hence posing somewhat- gets discarded. The photographer practices the lost art of classic documentary photography. It’s a style that was prevalent during the 60’s and 70’s era. Magnum Photos Agency was indomitable in the field. All-time street photography icons like Garry Winogrand or Robert Frank have had a huge impact on Valledor. but also great cinematographers, like Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis or Roger Deakins were very influential when he attended film school in Madrid’s ECAM. And though he has found his own way of storytelling though street photography, the touch of a narrative is still within his images.
“Persistence and being yourself”. Those are his primary assets in this challenge. Daniel utilizes analog cameras, which enable him to stay connected to reality, to live in the moment. By immersing himself in the streets, the traditional photographer becomes a part of the life on the streets. Thus, the perception changes, and he can work on capturing things that matter.
There’s a slight pickle, but the photographer seems to love it. Our traditional photographer can’t review each picture. Hence, he can’t delete them or remove them unless they are developed. It can consume a lot of time, but he’s willing to pay the price if the results are worth it.
Through a rigorous process of homebrewed chemicals, the photographer develops every image by himself. Results can either be truly remarkable, depicting a story or sometimes disappointing. The satisfaction is what matters to Daniel. “99% or more get discarded”, he admits.
Daniel Valledor will be publishing a book this year, with more than 50 images gathering his 6-year-long project on the streets of Madrid. Also make sure to check out his Instagram @danivalledor to see more of his work.