Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Naroa Pérez
Naroa Pérez is a fine-art photographer born in Spain and currently based in London for 6 years now. Her work seeks to express feelings, concerns or ideas such as grief, fear or lack of tangibility in our world using mainly the liquid emulsion technique.
♦ How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?
I’m a conceptual photographer who loves darkroom printing. The Liquid Emulsion Technique is one of my main ways to give physical form to my work but I do also find my voice in colour film photography.
During these past 3 years I’ve been working on my project called “Trail of Touch”, project in which I created photographic tactile pieces with the aim of claiming the importance of the sense of touch.
I have also recently started another project related to fear: I’m currently photographing safe places that look scary at night using only slide film.
♦ What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?
Taking long walks with my grandparents is one of my vivid memories. We used to walk together a lot when I was a child. I remember the feeling of freedom and relaxation, stopping every two steps to look or touch something. Having those long walks made me feel safe and confortable.
♦ Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?
My stepfather was a photographer and we were very close during my teens. I could ask for advice freely and not being judged for it. He was the one who encouraged me and empowered me to continue in the art world.
♦ How did you get in the world of analogue photography?
There was a Yashica Mat 124 camera at my stepfather’s house, but I wasn’t allowed to use it. He told me, “Take first an easier camera to start with”, so I purchased a Nikon point and shoot camera instead and bought a roll of 35mm black and white roll (probably it was Ilford HP5). It was an incredible easy camera to work with, but I wanted to learn more about photography. After my first university studies, I decided to study photography in a small school in San Sebastian, Spain and the rest is history.
♦How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?
Every art form is a different language. It’s a different way to express feelings, concerns, questions or ideas. I always try to answer those matters through my photography and art; whether it’s grief, awareness or fear.
With my project “Trail of Touch” I focused on liquid emulsion technique and the sense of touch, creating the “Tactile nostalgia” term. The need of being touched and how our skin and body need contact with others to survive.
♦ Are you working on any photographic project at the moment?
Yes, I’m about to finish my project “Trail of Touch” and I’m working on creating the last images of the project.
My next project is related to the sense of fear. I started this project during lockdown in Spain and then later on in East London. It consist of photographing safe places that look scary at night using slide film. At the moment I’ve started taking shots in medium format but my plan is to do them using 10×8 slides.
♦ Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?
As I said on my previous answer, my ultimate plan is to use 10×8 slide film for the fear related project but I’m having quite a lot of doubts due to its highly expensive price.
♦ Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?
The Yashica 124 Mat has been my camera for quite a long time. I absolutely love the 6×6 format and I’m in love with the camera itself as well. The feeling of looking through the waist level viewfinder is more than magical. I’ve also noticed that people feel more comfortable in front of this type of camera as it’s less intrusive.
Now I’m getting used to a new camera, my new Mamiya C220 (another 6×6 format camera!) I’m not sure why but I enjoy to composing my images on square format.
♦ Who are your biggest influences?
During my time at uni, I started feeling inspired by Rineke Disjtra and Diane Arbus. Leaving aside that both of them were more dedicated to portraiture, I was more influenced by their way of working and thinking about photography and also by their attitude towards their art. Speaking of which, Ana Mendieta was also a big impact for me.
Colleagues from Uni were very influential as well. Seeing what they were producing made me get in contact with many more different ways of making art.
Painters like René Magritte, M.C. Escher and Kandinsky, the photographer and writer Lucia Moholy-Nagy and also Marcel Breuer the designer, were also a fundamental source of inspiration and reference for me.
Music from the 90’ very widely speaking, from flamenco to punk.
♦ What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?
It’s not a piece of advice but it’s something that I always say to myself and to others: Just TRY.
Try to see what happens if you experiment with certain materials or substances. Flow with the process, flow with the mistakes, smile to wrongly processed film, repeat until to get what you want, JUST TRY.
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