Photographer Victoria Campa loves to photograph people, especially the people she is closest to. She says, “My primary concern, even beyond just photography, is people and their stories. There is nothing more valuable than human connection, and I am fascinated by what occurs when someone is in front of my camera.” Her portraits are youthful and vibrant. Be sure to check out her work on her website and Instagram.
I asked her eight questions about her work and her current projects. Our online conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from, and where do you live now?
I was born in New York but my family moved to Spain when I turned 4, so I spent most of my life in Madrid. When I turned 18, I moved back to New York City for university, and I just graduated in May 2017. Right now, I am traveling throughout India and southeast Asia, so I am living in between hostels and trains.
What projects are you working on these days?
I collaborate very often with my brother and sister, and we made many photos together this summer that I am still putting together. Another project that is very important to me is a collaboration with photographer and my dear friend Victoria Zavala Carvajal where we create double exposures by combining our two perspectives in one frame. It is called Layers of Synergy. And now that I am traveling for a while, I am photographing a lot, so we will see what shall come of that.
You shoot mostly in black and white. What attracts you to monochrome?
The truth is that it goes by phases, and this summer I made a lot of color photographs as well as in black and white. I am attracted to monochrome because sometimes I think that color distracts from a photograph and what it is trying to say. By adding a whole other dimension, it complicates the image in a way that makes a viewer dismiss it more quickly. To me, black and white feels more intimate and more revealing, especially since I mainly photograph people.
You do lots of interesting and lively portraits—young people in their environments. Is portraiture something you specialize in?
Yes. My primary concern, even beyond just photography, is people and their stories. There is nothing more valuable than human connection, and I am fascinated by what occurs when someone is in front of my camera. My favorite thing to do is photograph those closest to me, as if by making something beautiful with and of them I can properly communicate what they mean to me.
You graduated from Barnard College, in New York City, earlier this year. Has your approach changed now that you are out of school?
My photography has changed significantly from the beginning of my studies (four years ago) to now. Probably simply from spending many hours with my camera, I think I have found the subjects I am interested and I have begun to develop a voice of my own. I am sure my work will continue to grow and change over time.
What’s your state of mind when you’re taking good photos? Do you think there’s any connection between your mood or mindset and the results you get?
I definitely think there is a connection, and I think the connection is even deeper when it also involves the subject of my photos. It is important to feel comfortable and for there to be total trust between me and my subject. At the same time, my mindset varies. Sometimes I know exactly what I want before looking through the viewfinder, and other times I am surprised by the resulting frame. At this point, my “camera mind” is always on, and I don’t think I will be able to turn it off anytime soon. I see photos all around me all the time.
Who or what inspires you?
In my experience, inspiration can come from anywhere. Whether it’s from the way the light falls on a rock on an afternoon walk, or a conversation with a friend, or even a specific feeling or memory stored deep inside of you that you can’t even recall. I am constantly looking at the work of others, both photographers and other visual artists. I also like to read a lot, and I am very influenced by film. However, I am most inspired by real people and the real happenings that surround me.
One final question: Can you tell me briefly about a couple of photographers I may not be familiar with yet but you would recommend checking out?
Some of the photographers I look to often for inspiration are Quentin de Briey and Hollie Fernando. Lately I have been very into street photography in New York and have fallen in love with the work of Andre Wagner.