This week we travel to Ecuador to discover the city of Guayaquil, the hometown of photographer Vincente Manssur.
Vincente's work is mostly about street sightings, daily life and simple things. Let's discover his authentic stories of everyday's life in 15 photos in full resolution powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start photography?
I started photography about 5 years ago. I went on a trip to Chile, so I bought a used camera. I wanted to photograph the desert and the night sky. I remember I was a bit obsessed with those kinds of landscapes and scenery. I was very happy with the experience of traveling and making photographs.
A year later, as I was getting more into photography, I became interested in documentary and street photography. Those photographs changed what I wanted to do and led me to a different type of photographers and themes.
Did you try other photography styles? Or street photography has always been your favorite one?
I have tried other photography styles, like portraits, still life and new-topographic. In the end, I feel that every single one of them have something in common, I would not see them as a separate type of work.
Still, street photography is my favorite by far. I enjoy going out and walking around, seeing new places, interacting with people and maybe getting a chance to see something special. I like that feeling of surprise, is like playing a game. It’s unpredictable, you can’t control anything or know in advance what you’ll find. You just go out with a certain idea of what you are doing, hoping to find something and be lucky enough to get it before it fades away.
Nowadays, I enjoy doing portraiture work too. The pacing and approach are totally different. I like the interaction between the camera and the subject, and how it can give you a very special moment or gesture that will happen only once.
Any advice for beginners who want to start street photography? What are the do's and don'ts?
I think everyone works differently and you will eventually figure out how to interact better on the street. The only way to do it is to go out and try for yourself. It’s always a good thing to have references and see what has been done before. Consume photography through books, documentaries, movies or social media. There is a lot of work that may give you a starting point and will eventually train your eye to recognize moments or opportunities. You only will get better by going out and doing it.
As for do’s and don’ts, I could not say for sure. Is better to have no rules or parameters. You’ll find your voice or style with time and practice. Patience is key. And I think that it takes time to know what you are really looking for, or trying to say. I will only develop with time. Be curious and eager about it. Don’t rush and don’t try to run before you can walk.
What is your favorite place to photograph? Why?
My favorite place to photograph is my hometown, Guayaquil. The city preserves an 80’s aesthetics, and in some areas of downtown, you’ll find people and places that haven’t changed at all. It has a very own identity and you can smell it as you walk by through the streets, markets, restaurants or stores. There is something about the richness of the colors, the textures and the people that make this place unique. I still can’t find a word to describe it properly, it is a very exciting place to wander around and photograph.
Are you inspired by the work of other photographers or directors, artists?
Yes of course. Inspiration comes from other photographers, films and artists in general. A number of photographers and filmmakers have influenced me to work with a different approach. Seeing new perspectives always helps you to train your eye and come up with new ideas. I’ve been following a few photographers and filmmakers for some time and their work has always been a positive input for me. William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Alex Webb, Bruce Davidson, just to name a few.
About your photography gears, what are your favorite tools?
I try to minimize the weight and the quantity of tools, lenses or gear in general. I use a Nikon FE2 and a 35mm lens, which is my main setup for street work. I rarely change it. For other kinds of purposes, I use my digital camera and experiment with medium format too. I can say that the two main cameras are my Nikon film camera and the digital one (D810). For medium format, I’ve been using a Mamiya C330 and a Fuji GA645Zi.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I’ve been working on series about my city, which is a combination of still life, street photography and portraits.
I have other small projects and one of them is a photo zine, which is currently in the making. The zine is called “El Gran Escape” and is about secret getaways in daily life. The first two volumes were released last year and now I’m working on the third one.
To see more from Vincente:
All photographs copyright Vincente Manssur and used with his permission.
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