by Gonzalo Machado
Gonzalo Machado, a well-known international photographer is the protagonist of the first chapter of our new Views section. Views is a space created for dialogue and exchange of experiences with a selected number of artists, current references from different disciplines, who will show and share their particular vision of the Massimo Dutti universe.
You’re a well known (and established) fashion photographer, but your most recent work has involved more portraits. Are you going through a period of change?
Not really, no. I’ve always thought of myself the other way around, as a portrait photographer who became a fashion photographer. I’ve always been more interested in expressions and the subject than clothes, although they’re important too. For me, what stands out is personality. I always try to capture the character that makes each person who they are.
VIEWS BY GONZALO MACHADO
What can your portraits offer society today?
Today it’s hard to offer something new, but if I had to define two qualities, they would be beauty and rawness. For me, they go hand in hand when I’m creating a portrait. The concept of purely artistic beauty only interests me when it includes imperfection.
How do you capture the essence of the person you’re photographing?
It’s very hard to show the personality of someone you don’t know when you’ve generally only got less than four hours to create a portrait. To tell the truth, I project elements of myself onto the portraits I do. I mean, I don’t necessarily produce a completely faithful portrait, it’s my point of view about someone, but often the two coincide.
How is it different photographing a celebrity to photographing a normal person?
Celebrities bring different things to a portrait. For one thing, they bring a certain amount of professionalism to the process, which helps a lot. But, at the same time, they have a clearer vision of themselves, which limits the possibilities. I always have a conversation where I try to understand how the sitter feels about themselves and from there I try to add nuance, my point of view, and that’s what makes the photograph unique to me. With a non-celebrity it tends to be more complex at the beginning because the act of going in front of a camera is nerve wracking, however much we’re used to it these days. On the other hand, expectations tend to be lower and so the ability to surprise is greater.
VIEWS BY GONZALO MACHADO
When do you know if it’s a good portrait?
When there’s something in the photograph that’s not perfect, but that transmits strength. And the hands. Badly placed hands or hands that say nothing about the person can spoil a perfectly good portrait. Hands represent much more than we realise.
I have to ask this. Who would you like to photograph and why?
There are lots of people I’ve never photographed but would love to. I don’t think any of them are well known, although obviously there are famous people I’d love to photograph. It’s hard to chose just one. But, if I had to, for everything he represents, King Felipe VI is someone I’d really love to photograph.