8 Aug 2014

International Newcastle 3: Spanish photographer Alberto Gallego

Alberto Gallego is a Spanish photographer living in Newcastle. His work will be on display from today, as part of the exhibition ‘Other Places,’ part of a series of pop up exhibitions being presented by Octapod through its PODspace exhibition and education program.

‘Other Places’ showcases works by three photographers of different nationalities who through their images aim to portray the meaning of home and reflect the excitement of international travel.

How long have you lived in Australia? I arrived last year (2013) and I hope to enjoy life with my family in this wonderful country for a long time.

Why did you choose to come to Newcastle? My wife had a great time while she studied at Newcastle uni and we have friends who live here. Newcastle is also quite similar to Majadahonda, the area of Madrid (Spain) where we used to live, so we felt we could be happy here.

How does Newcastle compare to Madrid? Sydney reminds me of Madrid and Newcastle reminds me of Majadahonda, the neighbourhood I lived in. Newcastle has a stronger community life. It’s great how here there isn’t heavy traffic. I really like the fact that I know my neighbours and the parents of my son’s schoolmates. I also love the natural surroundings.

How would you define your work? Unlike here, in Spain you can’t specialise as a photographer, so at first it took me by surprise when in Australia I’d tell people I’m a photographer and they would ask me what type of photography I do. I’d say that when I photograph people I try to show their personality, the light in each of them. I like to establish a connection with my subject matter. I don’t have a favourite photographer but I’m inspired by many. I enjoy discovering new artists on the net.

Which of your photographs are you most proud of? That’s a difficult question to answer. I guess it depends on what mood I’m in. I think it’s like music. Depending on your mood when you wake up you prefer one type over another.

What’s the best part of being a photographer? Meeting wonderful people, accessing places that don’t tend to be open to the public and discovering new things all the time. And the worst? The fact that now there’s wide access to advanced technology at a low price. It means that when you give a quote to a client it can be hard to make the client understand why it’s worth paying you that instead of just getting anyone with a digital camera to take pictures.

What would you say to those who may be considering a career as photographers? I would tell them it’s a wonderful job. I’d advise them to go to as many exhibitions as possible. I would also advise them to pay attention to light. For instance, to focus on how a ray of sun lights a small area for a few seconds. Overall I’d advise them to enjoy and explore art, as the ability to produce art is one of the things that make human beings unique.

What Australian photographers do you admire?The first Australian photographer to catch my attention was Tim Coulson. He’s amazingly delicate and brave. As a photographer at a wedding for example, the bride may want to have pictures taken at her house and the photographer must be very considerate and respect her intimacy while taking pictures. Coulson shows you the intimacy of that kind of momento beautifully.

When you first arrived in Newcastle, you were surprised by… Its natural surroundings. In 15 min you can drive to a place surrounded by wild nature.

The most unique thing about Newcastle is... The magical light of this city. When it rains the sky turns a unique golden yellow and when sadly there’s a fire the sky takes an orange tint I’ve never seen before.

Of Newcastle you love… The beaches.

You can enjoy some of Alberto’s photographs at the exhibition ‘Other Places,’ until Sunday 24th August 2014.

Address: Hunter Design School, 67 Parry Street.

Exhibition opening: Friday 8th August, 6-8pm.

Cost: Free. All welcome.

To check Alberto’s work, visit his website www.albertogallego.com