On A Day Like Today
On A Day Like Today by Fletch
I think I will come straight out a say it that Anie Castillo @aniexe is one of my favorite artists on Instagram. And I class her as an artist – not just a photographer. Her images cause you to stop and question what she is trying to tell us; they are not just pretty pictures, they are loaded with meaning and mystery.
I spent some time going through her feed back to the beginning and I was amazed with the transformation. Like many others I could see that she started out pointing her phone at various household objects and finding interesting textures on walls, sidewalks, and the beach – and think she used all the filters that come with IG in those first set of shots. Then I could see that she started using other apps and I could clearly identify which ones she used – like “ok, Anie has used scratchcam there, and she has used that frame there”. But then there was this point where she had obviously mastered the apps and starting showing a real vision in the shots she was posting. And now there are no clues to what the process has been – just amazing images that continue to blow my mind. It was a pleasure to talk to Anie and get a better understanding of her background and to find out where she is heading.
F: Fletch A: Anie
F: Hi Anie, from what I can work out from your Instagram profile, it sounds like your time is spread between Mexico and the US. Can you start off telling me a bit about your background and your relationship to photography?
A: I was born in Mexico in 1984. I am a curious and restless gal that likes to watch/observe most of the time. I have always been attracted to out of the ordinary or unusual things as well as simple and profound. I am a psychologist and photographer.
What I like the most is to travel and surprise myself, travel from place to place inside and outside of my hometown and take in photographs the situations that I have observed and even those that I do not. The last trip I made was quite long, more than 6 months away from my country living in Dallas, Tx and searching for epiphanies among new things and awaiting the moment to come back. I have learned to live through lenses in a very short time thanks to the photography and currently live each day through the lens of my iPhone’s camera, which goes with me all the time.
On a day like today, small series 03
F: I noticed back at the start of your feed that there were some shots of what looked like a photography course? Did you attend some kind of workshop at the beginning, and is that where things really started to click for you?
A: Yes, it all started a year ago, I was curious about learning photography, but I had no idea how things would turn out or how I’d learn in a very odd way. First I started on a self-expression course (DSLR camera) with @maicamero, after that I was so excited, I would go home and look online for information, asking my teacher a bunch of questions.
I started buying photography books and spent hours stuck in this world, trapped and captivated. Then I knew Instagram and felt the need for a device that could access the application, so bought an iPod and started experimenting with various apps that I acquired. At first it was a hobby for me, until I won a photo contest (the most important in the city) with a photograph taken with a 1Mpx iPod. I did not know what was going on, still had no idea until that moment when my teacher explained the changes that are going through photography due to mobile phones. After that I looked for an iPhone, something that would give more resolution to my pictures. To this day I’ve won two of the most important photography contests in my city, with pictures taken with mobile devices.
F: You have come a long way with your shots, from the obligatory shots of textured objects around the house, to intricate works of art. It’s obvious that your photography skills have evolved, but to me you have a great artistic vision. Did you work in any other artistic mediums before picking up the iPhone?
A: Well, before iPhone photography I spent my time on literature, philosophy and psychology, lived among books. From time to time writing personal things, mental exercises, ideas, dreams, etc.. Now through photographs and particularly with my iPhone I found a way to share my ideas.
F: I love the way you juxtapose many fragments of ordinary life into your images and come up with something totally extraordinary. Even early on you were doing this quite effectively in a very simplistic way. Has there been an influence for this type of work? Are there other artists who you would say you admire and influence your style?
A: I think the first influence on the editing capabilities was watching @koci photos on Instagram. In Aesthetics and content I would say that Duane Michaels is one of my favorites. And a funny thing happened, I remember that at first I hated what Joan Fontcuberta did with Photoshop but later on I remembered his work, to my dismay, when I did my juxtapositions. But in general I would say that the main influence of my work about street photography and about capturing the instants are masters Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz and Robert Frank.
On a day like today, small series 04
Al revés, el mar
F: What really takes me about you work is that they are not just great images. They seem to have some underlying commentary about life and usually come with thoughtful titles – some which have me reaching for Google Spanish-English translator. Are you inspired by other factors outside of photography and art?
A: Several things influenced me, mainly I think philosophy did, perhaps more strongly the ideas of Nietzsche and here comes the rest. Many films as well, for example Bergman is one of my favorites and I sense that many others are about to be. The classical music, experimental, progressive rock, alternative rock in Spanish, and the insights that I do at any time of the day.
Una décima de segundo
Voz de noche
F: You obviously must spend some time on your edits, they are beyond the average, where people run their shots through various apps waiting for something good to pop out the other end. So do you have a routine for going out taking shots and working them into the final image, or do you just work it into your day where it fits?
A: Well, I shoot an average of 20 to 50 photos in a daily basis, looking for instances and images, and most of the time I wait in editing. I need inspiration for certain photos or to decide what to do. Other time is in the moment I transform an image and immediately show it. When time comes to edit, I do not like to spend a lot of time nor to be indecisive that causes me to stress out. I like that everything flows and at the best according to my perception…
F: So where to from here for Anie Castillo? Where do you want to take your photography next?
A: At short term is to have an individual exhibition and in consequence to the art galleries; long term one of my dreams is to publish a book with my personal work among other things. After all, instagram is a social network (my favorite one) points of view, and perfect to me for knowing other trends, points of view and new photographers, and meet new people and even friends.
Juxt thanks you for your work and your story.