Hector Alamilla is a Mexico-based photographer living in the city of Guadalajara. Hector gets his inspiration from the organic and natural mood of his environment and the female body. He loves to shoot on film and he almost always improvises in order to capture the pure beauty of a moment. This time, he captured Irene.
How did the idea for the series come about?
Well, I met Irene some years ago during a photo workshop in my city, and after having a little chat with her she told me that she’s been doing a nude modelling for a while (mostly for drawing and painting sketches). So putting those things together I thought it would be a good idea to work with her someday, because she feels comfortable in front of the camera and is used to pose in a casual way. I asked and she agreed, so one morning we met at her house. When I arrived I could see that her house was a place full of art in every possible way: paintings, sculptures, plants, books and old furniture all around. Even the design of the house was amazing. That just made me feel that there was a vibe to shoot something special. Another cool fact is that there actually are some pictures and drawings in her room that some artists have done especially for her. And I think that totally embraces the powerful femininity she projects. Hence her room was a great place to start shooting.
How do you approach these intimate shoots?
I think I am able to create and work on these shoots because I like to get to know the girls better, I like to have a good connection with them and I’m kind of discovering in the process how they feel about their bodies and also I’m trying to be intuitive and empathic. I communicate with the models a lot and I’m very easygoing in my approach, so I guess that makes them feel comfortable and gives them the confidence to propose, to move, and to ask. In that sense they are able to share things about their personality, their own individual special features with me and with the camera, and that is something I really value. Of course not all of them are used to pose or get naked that easily. There are so many taboos about the female body, so many beauty stereotypes that are hard to destroy nowadays, the ones introduced by the media which got stuck in people’s head. That’s what I’m trying to change here, finding ways to make all the girls I shoot pretty and comfortable with their bodies. That’s why I try to do my best, always in a professional way cause every single thing in the process of shooting matters if you want to have good and authentic results at the end.
Can we photograph the female body differently in a more powerful way?
Human body and more specifically the female body can be captured and photographed in infinite ways. I guess the options are never over because every single girl that accepts to appear nude in a shoot will create something special and unique. It’s always a surprise what you’re going to get with models, because I usually find myself being amazed by the results which I, for instance, didn’t initially expect to be that great. It’s a matter of practicing and getting better with the camera, with the light and using the space in different ways. Creating a connection with the girl is also important. Photographing a girl will always be something powerful and full of mystery, that’s the whole point of doing it, not only because of the aesthetic part of it, but also for the feelings and impact the pictures can cause. It’s an art form to me. And that means you don’t have to focus on the naked body all the time or make it sexual to have a ‘good picture‘. It depends on a model, you can shoot her eyes, her hair, her legs, even her feet and imagine what is beyond that. You can shoot them with clothes on and have an incredible shoot as well. You have to find balance in the pictures and express something visually powerful.
What inspires you?
Well, I get inspired by simple daily life things, it could be a great song, or just taking a walk on a sunny day in my city. I usually feel a bunch of inspiration whilst watching movies and looking at other pictures of women too. I watch tons of them everyday, from my favourite photographers around the world. My girlfriend inspires me a lot when we talk about art and when we share our ideas and all the things we can create together.
How would you define beauty?
Wow, well I think that just one definition of beauty is impossible. It depends on your mood and the things you like but basically for me it is something that comforts you, makes you smile or imagine and it is also something that can make you question something. It has to make you feel something and it doesn’t have to be necessarily visually beautiful, symmetrical or perfect. Sometimes beauty is about imperfection and showing the things in their natural state, in their essence.
Film or digital?
I do prefer film, it’s something magical for me and a way more special than digital. Film forces you to really think before taking the picture, unless you have more money than sense and that’s what I love about it. The effect, the colours and the different textures and grain that you can get with film … there’s no comparison. Despite all that, I’m not denying the fact that shooting digital is sometimes a good option. I do some work on it and I’ve started taking pictures with digital cameras when editing is necessary. It saves money and time, but when it comes to shooting girls, I love the range of options that a film camera can give me.
What makes you happy?
Listening to music, eating tacos, dancing, going out with friends or my girlfriend, and exploring nature. I just like taking walks as well and I usually watch a lot of movies and tv shows. I guess I am a simple guy.
What’s next for you?
I’m trying to do more series like this one, more photoshoots in order to bring all the ideas I have in my mind to reality. My dream is to have my work in a gallery someday and hopefully to start selling my pictures too. Also expanding and having contracts with different kinds of brands and companies that may like my work. I’m optimistic about my future and I’m sure good times are coming for me, because I’m doing what I love the most, and that’s always a good place to start and expect the best.