Interview with Vicente Manssur

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Q: Hi Vicente, welcome to Pellicola. Tell us something about your life and yourself.

My name is Vicente Manssur, I’m 30 years old and I live in Guayaquil, Ecuador. I work as a freelance photographer and as a graphic designer.

Q: Tell us how you discovered photography. Do you remember when and why did you start taking pictures?

About five years ago on a trip to Chile. I needed a camera for the trip so I bought a used Nikon D3000. I was obsessed with deserted landscapes and night sky, which is why I went to Chile in the first place. I came back with a lot of bad pictures but tremendously happy about the experience of making them. I can remember the feeling of finding something. I was shooting landscapes, but it started changing as I got more into photography. I became interested in the history of street photography because of the work of Alex Webb and Harry Gruyaert, just to name a few. Those photographs changed what I wanted to do and led me to a different type of photographers and themes.

Q: Your style is quite heterogeneous. What do you look for when you shoot?

I think it’s an intuitive process, it could be anything that I’m attracted to in that moment. Colors, light, people and shadows building a scene that suddenly works. I feel attracted to daily life, people on the street and everyday scenarios with a cinematic feel.

Q: Exploring your website there is street-photography, portraits, new-topographics and so on. What style is the most challenging for you? And why?

I can say that street photography is the most challenging and most exciting theme to shoot. 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. It’s pretty exciting, it’s like playing a game. Most of the time you’ll get nothing, but when you do…

Q: What keeps you inspired?

Inspiration and motivation comes from films, photo books and music. Getting out of the city is also a good way to see other stuff and come up with new ideas. Also, other photographer’s work keep me inspired to work and try different approaches.

Q: What gear do you use now?

I’m using a Nikon FE2 with a 35mm lens and a Nikon D810.

Q: What do you recommend to people who approach photography for the first time?

Find a camera that you like and feel comfortable with. Go out often and take pictures of whatever catches your eye. Consume photography through books, documentaries, videos or social media etc. Look for photographers from before your time and immerse into their work. You have to be really eager and curious about photography.

Q: If you could meet a great photographer who will he/she be?

Bruce Davidson and William Eggleston.

Q: Do you have any upcoming projects?

Right now I’m working in a photo zine, which is called “El Gran Escape”. I’m also working on a couple of series about my city (Guayaquil) and a small exhibition which will take place in December. The exhibition is about people and places in Ecuador. We’ll be showing portraits and landscapes taken at the beach and in the city.

Q: Suggest us a film or an album.

A film: Raising Arizona

An album: Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones

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All images © Vicente Manssur