Joel Obando is a 32-year-old photographer born and bread in Costa Rica. Svmvs Lvx is his ongoing project which emphasises nudity as a tool to empower people and also shows their beauty, perfection and uniqueness in a natural way. Joel’s a musician, vegan and lives with his wife, five dogs and one cat.
How did the idea for the series come about?
My shoots are mostly very spontaneous sessions and this was also the case. I’d previously done another session with Maria, and I owed her this beautiful set. She knows the best spots here in the mountains of San Jose, our capital. It was a beautiful day so we went out there and shot.
Can we photograph the female body in a more powerful way?
I think that’s a very easy thing to do, with any type of body actually. The difficult part and the most powerful way how to portrait someone is when you are able to catch the personality within that body and when you capture their essence in one shot. I think it can be done only when you do it with honesty. The body is just a unique shell.
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is simplicity and uniqueness.
What inspires you and what makes you happy?
Honestly, I have never been able to answer the first part of this question, because I think the list could be endless but at the same time I can’t find the right way to put it. But what I could say is that the appreciation for simplicity is what drives me and keeps me going, and it is something that I share with all my projects – music, photography and illustration. We do have complicated lives and sometimes that can stop us or blind us in finding and enjoying the simple things in life. And for the second part of this question, well, when I’m able to do what I love that’s when I’m happy. Irene, playing with my dogs and cat. Having a cup of black coffee, playing drums, when you find this moment that is only yours and you put it in a picture, when you sing karaoke with friends and Sunday mornings in bed.
Film or digital?
Both have their own beauty and their singularity, nowadays everyone is in love with film. I often work with digital, but I’ll be getting an analog camera soon so I’ll start using film more. And we will see, I’ll keep you posted.
Lastly, what’s next for you?
Future is always a difficult topic for me, but, I think I’ll keep on working, I can’t stop shooting, but now I have more specific projects in mind that I need to start working on. I will have my first solo exhibition soon and I’m currently working on new fanzines and some audiovisuals too. Stay tuned dear friends.