Your work, especially Agua, has a surrealist quality. The context and the framing create something dream-like, despite being real landscapes with real people.
I agree. And a lot of times, if you saw some of the landscapes in person, they're not as ethereal as the images look. And that's the thing. I'm here to reimagine what I see and look for beauty as I get closer.
There's an image in that series that somebody asked me, "Where did you find this lagoon?" And I said, “That's not a lagoon, that was literally a pond of water.” It was a pond in the middle of a drought in Tanzania. That was the little water that I could find and it could only fit two people. It's about creating a foldout, you know? I can see a majestic, endless water space in this and I'm going to travel to it. But in reality, it wasn't.
What motivates your desire to portray fantasy?
Again, it's not just fantasy. I could not do just purely fiction. I love that there's a brilliant reality and that its changeable. And then you can escape it a little bit…Well, not escape it - add to it.
It's almost like seeing past what's obvious or surface to find beauty - or to capture that very specific moment. It's interesting…like a metaphor for optimism.
For sure. I think that was the homework I assigned to myself. Especially when I started traveling to Africa, I was so done with all these negative narratives. They were always about scarcity and they were always around poverty. And I was like, no, I can see so much beauty here.
Yeah, maybe it's optimism, but I think for me, it's about being sensitive to how I want places and people to be portrayed. I want to portray them in a very dignified way - not add to existing narratives, but dream within the potential of everything that is around us.