Veronica Ibarra


New York based photographer Veronica Ibarra is very well known for her pictures of ethereal, fantastic and sometimes strange personalities, full of rich colours and surrealistic elements. She is a multitalented persona having a great experience as a creative in the fashion industry and running the really succesful and inspiring blog La Bella Memoria. Veronica kindly gave this beautiful interview exclusively for Fashion Installation.




WITH YOUR BACKGROUND AS A MAKE-UP ARTIST WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER?

 Although it seems that my background was makeup artistry, I started taking photographs at the same time. I took photo courses in High School and I combined the two art forms in the early 90s. After high School I attended Otis School of Art And Design and worked part time as a makeup artist. Working in LA really helped me to get jobs in some of the Hollywood Studios doing makeup at Press Junkets and studio events. After I got out of college I began to shoot for modeling agencies , plus I would do their makeup as well but soon that helped me realize I didn't want to shoot models. I moved to NY in 2003 and continued to work. I worked for MAC cosmetics for a few years and met so many amazing people. I was also taking photographs and documenting New York as the years went by. I'm still here running around New York city with a makeup brush in one hand and a camera in the other.


YOU HAVE SEVERAL EXCITING SELF PORTRAITS. HOW EASY OR DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER TO BE IN FRONT OF A CAMERA?

In the past I was always intimidated by the camera when it faced me. When it comes to my photographs I rarely work with stylists and other makeup artists, only because its easier
for me to control the entire shoot from beginning to end. When Im shooting someone, it's just an exchange of our two energies working together, but when I'm shooting self portraits it's really hard. My self portraits are usually based on an idea and I usually do get what I want, but getting there takes a long time. I feel that when it comes to shooting myself it's very difficult to find a right angle or pose. It's definitely a challenge and I delete lots and lots! Its been easier now that we have digital cameras for me to shoot self portraits. If I was still shooting film, because of the cost, i probably wouldn't be shooting myself. Digital photography has allowed me the freedom to try anything and play with lighting. It's a vulnerable place to be, I think, in front of a camera. But i thank my good friend, photographer Carmen Hawk for giving me the guts to go in front of the camera.

YOU OFTEN SHOOT MODELS OF STRANGE BEAUTY. WHAT IS YOUR CRITERIA WHEN CHOOSING A MODEL OR A CONCEPT?

Choosing people to shoot is really easy now that we have facebook and other online contact sites. I usually choose to shoot friends of mine or people that I find interesting. I love shooting "real" people as oppose to models because I find that the real people give a sense of mystery and realism because they don't know how to pose so they just do what is natural for them. They are just themselves and that's what I love. I love shooting both men and women although sometimes it's a bit more fun with the women because they get all dolled up! I've always been so obsessed with faces and every time I see someone I want to shoot, I've already created the perfect makeup & lighting to go with them in my head. My shoots always start with a concept but sometimes turns into something totally different.


 
WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION? DOES FASHION AFFECT YOUR IDEAS?


I'm inspired by so many things. Music, different cultures, history,cats, films, books, trash, fashion, costume jewelry, light, motion, people, old ladies, color, and anything that's obsessive or exaggerated . Who ever said less is more is crazy in my head. I love documentary photographs as well as stylized fantasy set ups. Fashion is always present in my photos even in its absence.


DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR OR ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPHER YOU ADMIRE?
 

I admire a lot of photographers, lets see where do i start... Diane Arbus, Steven Arnold, Annie Leibowitz, Terry Richardson, Serge Lutens of course because he was also a hair stylist, makeup artist and photographer and my all time favorite is Irina Ionesco. Elliot Marks was a still photographer who worked on tons of films in Hollywood and I assisted him for a year or so before moving to NY. He taught me a lot about digital photography because I shot with my Hasselblad for a long time and didn't know a thing about digital. In college I also took a class with Ruben Ortiz Torres who had assisted Joel Peter Witkin, also another favorite photographer of mine. I think Ruben was actually who really got me into shooting in a documentary format. Just being able to realize you can walk down the street and shoot something and capture something really beautiful.


WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE ARTISTIC PLANS?


I have very special plans for 2011. I just signed a contract to shoot for a very special company and im excited to see where they send me to shoot. I will still be working on my own side projects and probably still be doing makeup as well. I will just see what the future brings my way.
 You can have a look at more exciting pictures from Veronica Ibarra at her online portfolio and personal blog:

viphotography.carbonmade.com
labellamemoria.blogspot.com


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