The Streets of Santiago, Chile
Where are you from? Tell us about your life outside of Instagram. What is your job? What is your family life like? What are some things you’d like to share about yourself that you showcase through your work? What are your hobbies? What music do you listen to the most?
My name is Mauricio Hoyuelos, I’m a designer. I live in Santiago de Chile and I am in the midst of a life crisis, since I separated from my wife a year ago. At my age it is very difficult to live worthily of design, and in this sense IG has been extraordinary therapy. I admire a good sense of humor and I’m addicted to music. My taste range is wide, from the Mythical Tangerine Dream to Savages.
If you could tell us a bit more about the culture of Santiago de Chile. The people. The economy.
Santiago de Chile today is a modern city which has sustained growth for over 20 years ago. It has great real estate development that is being built without any regard to the traditional neighborhoods, so for some of us, exploring the old quarters, traditional and popular places that mark the Santiago Deep, is a must. We are tourists in our own city. The gap between rich and poor gets wider every day and. this generates an overwhelming social contrast. Within this contrast it is revealed that low-income people and those with fewer opportunities are usually more supportive , more sociable and definitely human. The other Chile, who claim more power economically, are concerned only in increasing power and crushing any event or person that tries to thwart the path.
Tell us about how you started in mobile/social photography? What is it about this genre that gets you excited? What is it that brings you down?
I cannot imagine photography without the social aspect of photographing people. I cannot understand, for example, those who publish only structures and buildings without a single person , or that publish their meals or cats. Everything communicates, but the intent of the title in a photograph, for me is very important. In my visual search, I long to find beauty where others cannot see. I explore the landscape with poetry as a compass; although I have many abstract images, to make the selection for this interview, I realized that the poetry of the city certainly is people.
A photograph that I love is called, “Gift” from my student protest Series. Ana is a soft and beautiful gypsy who has lived for 25 years on the street. What began as a photographic exploration of violence and urban confrontation ended with the wonderful experience of sharing a cigarette and some words with this woman, oblivious to the political ideas was worried from day to day much more real, raw and painful. After separating, she just lay on the floor. From the other path I hurried to take one last picture, and in that moment, Ana gave me the best gift possible for that day.
You’ve mentioned that IG has been therapeutic for you. If you could describe for us the therapy aspect of it and why it is therapeutic for you specifically.
For me it is therapeutic and has been mainly for being a communication channel. All of which I hope to show attractive aesthetics. We can deliver a message. To me this message cannot leave out the social component. In Instagram I follow some people who bare their moods accompanied by excellent images. The ability to show our moods and also see the other moods is definitely very therapeutic. You’re seeing a reflection in the problems or visions of others. This is very tribal.
Despite the stats of many social platforms, mobile photography has taken off amongst many generations. As a child of the 80′s myself I relate to you. It’s a bit different for someone our age starting out in photography and then sharing. Can you tell us more about how you got involved with mobile photography?
As a kid, I liked to take things apart to see what’s inside them … watches, locks, toys, blenders… everything. I think that now I try to do the same: to show what’s inside of people , situations, communities. This goes beyond and reaches the essence of things which is what I learned in my profession as a designer. I can say that my path has been consistent and therefore lucky. Now, I have an acceptable camera of quality that is always with me. So my iPhone is my tool, my screwdriver.
The community of mobile photography is important. Your statement, “The poetry of the city is certainly its people.” rings true for many of us street photographers. What got you into street photography? What does it mean for you to be able to capture the people and the city you love and share with the world?
Well, the answer to this question is present in all the other answers, but I think the most important motivations for me are to capture people in my city and share it with the world. This is a duty, a pleasure and a necessity. A duty because it is necessary to counteract at least some of the empty photography that is posted. About 90% of the pictures on Instagram have no background, no story and this is what dominates Instagram (and usually is most popular). A pleasure because there is simply nothing I like more. A need for me, because it is intimate and meets a need that is linked to artistic expression.
Who inspires you in your family? in your circle of friends and community? in mobile photography? in the general arts world?
I learn a lot from my two daughters. They already have a passionate drive for music, film and photography that has absorbed the force (lol). I get to see how they integrate their own tastes and enrich their own aesthetic journey. This is a privilege that parents have. I must admit I’m not very informed and only now, at 47, I am getting addicted to photography and its exponents.
I absolutely admire Vivian Maier. Her story is a fascinating example of sense and sensitivity. On IG, I admire many but especially feature two monsters @bonet35 and @oriettags and a visionary: my friend @sujeto, a kind of low-end. He now does not even use tags and showed me this fascinating world of IG.
Tell us more about how your daughters have gotten you informed and addicted to photography. Are they also playing with the camera? The beauty of being a parent is being able to relate to their children. Sounds like the arts are a great way to connect with your daughters. Can you share with us some stories of those connections and if they have any work that you’d like to share of theirs.
The beauty of being a father is among other things the ability to leave a legacy to your children. This legacy can be economical, values and/or culture. My economic legacy will unfortunately be limited (which can be a great opportunity to challenge them). The real legacy of values sticks to the skin and is transferred by example, so I’m calm about it, but the cultural legacy fills me with pride. It basically opens up both the mind with music, film and a critical view of society. My oldest daughter for example, is one of the most knowledgeable music. She also reads and writes quite well (legacy from her mother) has an Instagram account and while her photographs are that of a typical teenager, she has earned a mention in # bws_latin for several months for her minimalist photography. My youngest daughter is outgoing, with a great personality and intensity for all, but she has good taste. Their passion for photography isn’t there just yet. It’s probably because of being in front of the camera and not behind it.
Any last thoughts you’d like to share with our readers about your passions, artistry, your family, your city? Also as far as recommendations, who do you suggest musically for people to listen to. Who do you have on heavy rotation in your ear buds?
I would like to share a thought that crosses the issues of the new generation and passion. Perhaps one of the challenges for the new generations is helping to “focus” on something specific . This is probably because of the bombardment of information that our youth are exposed to everyday. It’s guise of ”quantity is better” and I think we should help them become consumers of “better quality”. This starts with music. I started as a child listening to good music, but at that time was very limited access to the musical offerings of the world. Each discovery was a formidable achievement, and a good album I would listen to many, many times, always in the same order of songs. I got to generate a tangible link to music. I think these days music and good music at that becomes “disposable and forgettable.”
I recently discovered a YouTube channel from Seattle, KEXP 90.3 FM. There is a large selection of live performances (very important) and recorded with excellent sound quality. Records range from new bands like the excellent “Bomba Stereo” to the consecrated “Yo La Tengo”, all very Eclectic and Outsiders . I thoroughly enjoy this station and its music selection.