Dec 31, 2014
Otilia Coca, Mobile Photographer: Capturing Moments of Life
OC: My name is Otilia Coca and I live in Madrid, Spain.
How did you get started in mobile photography? What device do you use?
OC: I use an iPhone 5s. Generally speaking, you could say I have always been obsessed with the passage of time, and the ability to capture a specific moment, no matter how ephemeral or ordinary. Consequently, when phones started having relatively acceptable cameras (for me this happened more or less three years ago) I discovered the comfort of not having to carry my reflex with me at all times, whilst still being able to take a picture whenever something caught my attention. I particularly enjoyed the freedom this enabled, the opportunity to take a picture and edit it, no matter where I was or when this happened.
Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
OC: Creativity and the arts in general have always been a huge part of my life, mainly through painting, interior design, music (violin) and of course photography. As a teenager, my friends always remember me holding a camera. I was an autodidact, and generally taught myself most of what I know, through books and printing in B&W in my bathroom, despite my brothers and their constant complaints about the whole house smelling of vinegar! Back then painting was a big passion of mine and I enjoyed combining both. Apart from using all kinds of filters and different camera lenses, I loved experimenting with the pictures after printing them; I would paint over them with watercolors, gouaches, sand…etc, I loved using mixed media. When years later I discovered the apps that are nowadays available for editing, you can imagine how tremendously excited I was! However, since my passion didn’t have much of what many would call “commercial output”, I studied interior design and decorative painting, I formed a family and my albums became full of pictures of “cute little children” and some casual creative ones in between.
Who or what inspires you?
OC: I would say that everything inspires me, meaning there’s not something specific I would particularly highlight. Nonetheless, maybe because I have painted all my life and since a very young age, I have always been very interested in the way light affects everything, how it, metaphorically speaking, “happens” on things. I have always been fascinated by the way colors relate to one another, the contrast between objects and their textures; the beauty that can be found anywhere when one is willing to look at things closely enough.
What I personally love about Instagram, aside from the fact that it has become a huge source of inspiration for all, is also how it gives you a chance to enter someone else’s vision and their manner of looking at things; what it is they specifically focus on, their different approaches to beauty, and what captures their attention. The pictures I like the most are therefore those where you perceive a tiny glimmer of the photographer’s soul, a slight and subtle sample of their frame of mind. I believe those are the kind of pictures that evoke the most emotion; they bring a specific feeling or memory to mind, establishing a very special connection between the captured moment and the person who captured it.
Do you plan your shoots with an end in mind or do you shoot and decide later as you edit?
OC: I don’t tend to plan my shoots; I simply take a picture when something captures my attention. Generally, the edit I use is influenced by my mood at that particular moment, I have days of bright and sharp colors, and others where I feel more like using textures with a more melancholic feel to them. I like trying to show how I felt whilst taking the picture, in order to be able to remember it in the future. This can sometimes be very frustrating, because I sometimes see something in an image that I can’t seem to capture with the camera. However, it is true that some particular images ask for a specific type of edit. I love editing in B&W but I never usually end up choosing that version as my favorite, I suppose this is due to the pictorial deformation this entails, which always makes me feel like it’s a shame to lose all the colors and shades….
You shoot many different subjects. Do you have a favorite?
OC: No. I love when I see photographers on Instagram and their pictures have one predominant style, aesthetically I find this very beautiful. Although I’m sure this might make more sense professionally speaking, I’m personally unable to do this. For me, each moment and picture asks for something different.
Have you ever sold or exhibited your work? If not, any plans for the future?
OC: I did exhibit my paintings a long time ago, I sold several pieces of art and have always regretted it. I find it really hard to do so because I consider my work to be very personal and a big part of my life, I don’t mind sharing them but not losing them, which is why I’m so happy with Instagram, its perfect for me. Perhaps I would exhibit again with photography, because its not like a painting where once it is sold you lose it completely, but right now I haven’t accepted any offers or feel ready to do so.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
OC: I highly value what phones, Instagram, blogs or pages like yours have achieved - they have given thousands of people a chance to enter the world of creative photography and develop an artistic capacity which many didn’t even know they had, or maybe they did, but they found expressing it was too much of a complicated process. The world is full of talented people who produce both personal and extremely powerful images, which is why, like I said to you before, I was flattered when you chose me to feature in your blog, and I wanted to thank you again.
My photographs are basically how I try to capture and save all the thousands of seconds that shape every instant of my life. Capturing these moments gives me a chance to always remember and enjoy them again visually. For me, editing is a process by which I extend the duration of those moments and make them mine, because whilst the contingent moment captured on a photograph proceeds to be part of the past in less than a second, the actual act of looking at an image can last forever.
Find Otilia: Instagram