Fine Art Photography – Val Masferrer Oliveira from LSP to Art Galleries around the world
Text and images by Val Masferrer Oliveira
I started photographing in 1982. Since then it has always been the way I choose to express myself, including during the time I was working in advertising and design.
It was a hobby until I started the Professional Photography Course at LSP. There, I was able to turn a passion into business.
My work changed completely since I finished the Professional Photography Course. The broad range of areas taught during the course gave me the ‘tools’ to dare and go ‘beyond what I was seeing’. It gave me not only the technical skills but also the insight and confidence to start my own business.
Although landscape and natural light are my inspiration, I don’t consider myself as a landscape photographer. What I enjoy most is to ‘play’ with my camera and transform it into a paint brush. Lowering the shutter-speed, moving the camera, in order to translate what I am ‘feeling’.
At LSP you are encouraged to develop your own style and search for a unique approach. I believe that is the reason I have been invited to exhibit my work in Italy, the USA, Germany and Spain. I also have some of my work featured in publications based in the USA, Italy and Switzerland.
I am also present in art online platforms like saatchiart.com. Although I have my own website I feel that it is much easier to be found when you belong to an art web platform or even to a professional platform, like LinkedIn. I found out that the invites for a couple of exhibitions came from these platforms. Therefore, my recommendation for those who are starting is to have a professional web presence which is likely to attract invites to both art platforms and exhibits.
My work goes from reality to imagination. I’ve always questioned if what we perceive is truly the reality or something revealed according to our life experience or our senses.
I have been working on different projects and each one of them reflects a certain period of my life. “Moods Around the World” is much more related to ‘reality’ itself and the main idea underpinning this multicultural body of work is the beautiful diversity of the cultures around the world.
“Through the Present” is a project that explores reflections of the past through images of the present. I love to capture the contrasts and to highlight details both in the foreground and the background. “It exists because I see it is a body of work presenting landscapes detached from ‘reality’. Through this body of work I free myself from any rules. I shoot what I am ‘seeing’ in that moment. It is much more related to my inner side than to ‘reality’ itself. It is a process that allows me to keep discovering life from different perspectives, searching for a personal approach.
“Sculptures from Nature“, was developed exclusively for the ‘Variations’ exhibition in Bologna in 2012. In this project I concentrate the composition on certain elements instead of the real context.
“The Power of Perception” was a very interesting journey into how people perceive reality, presented in a group show in NYC in 2013. In this body of work, I explore not what i truly there, but what the audience is seeing. It is not about what I created but the audience’s interpretation of it. Is reality a proof of perception? Do we perceive reality as it is, or understand what our senses unveil? Is perception a mental recreation? How far must we free our minds in order not to compare or judge what we see?
I have been exploring perception for the past 6 years. Since June 2016 I started to research about dreams through three different school of thoughts, three different interesting perspectives: neuroscience analytical psychology and Tibetan Buddhism. The concept behind this new body of work is to explore and investigate the boundaries between reality, imagination and dreams, the symbolic language of the unconscious mind. I first started going out to shoot with no plan in mind, just shooting what captured my attention. After that, I checked my camera to verify what captured my attention. I called this phase ‘unconscious reading’, when I was trying to interact with my unconscious mind through the images. I discovery that there was a pattern every time I was going out on this ‘free mode’. There is a short selection of this experience in my blog @ www.valmasferreroliveira.com
I will present part of this body of work in a group show in October this year in Madrid, Spain.
It has been a long journey since I finished the Professional Photography Course at LSP. Photography business for Fine Art Photographers is sometimes a long relationship with the galleries and curators, specially here in London. Commissions are very high sometimes, I must say, but I believe if you want to create, to go out and spend your time shooting, you need to have partners working ‘in the front line’, doing network, marketing, public relation, promotion..I believe it’s impossible to combine all that and develop projects with interesting concept behind at the same time. It’s just too much and because your focus is divided between selling and creativity you end up not doing either in a proper way.
I like to think that I am and I will always be a beginner. This thought allows me to feel free to create, to experiment whatever I want, and ultimately to enjoy photography. I believe the most important thing is to be able to play with your camera and your imagination. To challenge your own limits.
Bare in mind that anyone can click. Don’t be focused in reaching the goal, rather focus on enjoying the journey..that’s the only way you can reach what you really want.
Thanks for the inspiration, LSP.