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Gaining a strong reputation for his raw photographic style, Estevan Oriol captures the essence of Los Angeles street life through his visionary genius. His work has graced the pages of some of the world’s finest magazines all while being one of the most sought after photographers in the industry. With almost two decades of masterful work under his belt, Estevan brings a retrospective show to SURU Los Angeles, celebrating the LA lifestyle that has amassed such a huge following. We catch up with the famed photographer for a quick Q & A before the launch of his “This is Los Angeles” Exhibition.
Interview with Estevan Oriol (Photographer/Video Director)
Estevan, your work reflects a genuine Angelino style, how has your success sparked further interest in photography from the Latino community or the community as a whole?
I see it here and there, but mostly people tell me when they meet me how they were inspired by the work I do, which is a good feeling to know you touched someone like that.
Seeing all the advancements in photography, which recent technologies do you feel would have better complimented your skills coming up, if any at all?
None, I like everything about the way I came into it, now everything is cookie cutter. Its all like fast food, cheap versions of the old school. Too much access, too fast nowadays.
Aside from your passion for camera work, what other artistic fields do you find yourself having interest in?
Fashion. I have two clothing lines, Joker and Estevan Oriol. I also direct videos and documentaries, and business of course.
Building a close relationship with Mr. Cartoon over the years, how does his artistic talent influence the way you approach your photographic work?
I don’t really approach it like that.
He does his art out of his head from what the customer wants and I do the same with photography.
What particular camera set-up do you find the most effective?
The Canon AE1 35mm is my weapon of choice.
A majority of your images are shot in black & white, what sort of advantages do you find shooting in black and white as opposed to color?
It seems more timeless, classic.
What parallels and differences do you find between photography and film?
With photography your catching a split second and with film your letting the camera roll. There is more time to capture the feeling in film, I set up the framing the exact same way on stuff I shoot.
In all your trips and experiences around the world, have you ever encountered a
situation that made you feel uncomfortable or out of your element?
Most of the time I’m alone. When I’m far from home I think its natural to be uncomfortable a little bit, that’s part of the rush.
This latest project with SURU Gallery, can you give us some details on how you came about working with Joe and Noel?
I know Joe from touring with Linkin Park, when I was tour managing Cypress Hill. When you spend that much time together, you hang out and become cool with some of the people. Me and Joe have been in contact ever since. He eventually introduced me to Noel, the co-owner of SURU LA. We talked about doing a show for sometime and now here we are. Its going to be sick, a new approach. I’m ready and happy.
What other projects can we expect from Estevan Oriol for 2009?
I have 2 books coming out, L.A. Woman on Drago Publishing in Italy and the second has no name yet. Its about the tattoo culture out of L.A. Originally it was called Ink, until the reality shows molested that word. For the rest stay tuned to a website or blog near you.
Estevan, thank you so much for your time, are there any last words or suggestions for aspiring photographers?
Be original and work hard. The game is tough and getting rougher, so be strong and stay in your lane. There are no short cuts. Thanks to everyone who supports our movement, we appreciate it.
7662 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
This is Los Angeles Exhibition
Feb. 1st – Feb. 28th
Text: Luis Ruano
Photo: Amanda Lopez, Jon Dragonette