From Philosophy to Art and Photography
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Jordi Cervera i Vidal, I was born in the Mediterranean in Castelló de la Plana (Spain) in 1977. I studied Philosophy before I discovered photography and I studied Image and Sound in Valencia (Spain) in 2004 and since that I am working as a visual creator for differents magazines, brands and clients.
How did you first get involved with photography?
While I was studying Philosophy at the University I studied also a degree in Bussiness and Finances and I did my practicum in a Video Producer company. There I discovered photography and learned from my first great masters, Ivana, Boro, Javier, Luis, Enrique, Arturo... Everything changed for me and I quit my work and studies and focused on photography since now.
What do you find most challenging about your genre and style of photography?
Photography is a language for me. A way, a pen, a brush I use to “paint” my stories. Sometimes, in the commissioned works for clients we have to put our eyes and feelings to serve other “messages”, but at the end that is the challenge anyways. My personal challenge is to create images who act as a key for who watch them. A few signs who bring anyone and myself the chance to trust, build or just interpret in someway a message or story I want to tell. That’s probably the main reason I use black and white, without the semantic charge of the colors all images become more abstract and go straight to the feelings.
Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while taking photos?
I was living and working in Ibiza (Spain) during 15 years for several and so different clients so I have to say I have lots of different experiences with really different kind of persons, clients etc. One (of provably thousands) really important side of any kind of Art is communication. All shootings have an amazing process of communication, from a cold insecure beginning to sometimes a really intimate and powerful end, no matters if the portrayed person is a celebrity, a model, a musician, a Chef... One of the beautiful gifts of my work is to be honoured to have portrayed really amazing people, being the bad experiences just a few of them.
How would (someone) describe your photography style?
I have to say provably dark and cryptical. And I agree, being this just an external reading of my work. I am really happy to say that I heard lots of times that my work is so intense that I make people had really strong feelings watching and experiencing my work, and that’s for me the best possible award as a creator.
What camera equipment do you have in your travel bag?
I am a really simple and minimalistic photographer I have to say. In fact, due to quite bad personal circumstances during the last two years, my equipment is quite non-updated at the moment. And I really don’t mind. My eyes and my heart, my main equipment, are still working fine (I think) so I must say I have the best equipment I can have at this moment. From a technical perspective I must say I mainly use a couple of Full Frame Nikon cameras and in this order a 50mm, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm and a 16-35mm 2.8 lenses. My dreamy equipment will be the same in a Leica system, hoping soon I can do that change.
What do you do when you aren’t taking or editing photos?
I am a person who can’t stop creating and learning, being, in fact, some kind of “hyperactive” creator. Besides my photography work, I also do Design works, small Videos and recently I am learning how to do Livestreamings ad I always continue my formation with Masters, Workshops, Exhibitions and other resources. I also paint for me as a “recovery retreat” exercise and I am always working in my life-passion: music. At this moment I am producing my own music, playing my guitars and still learning, working, learning and working again. I am not a person who likes to lose time as you can see.
When did you decide to become a full-time photographer?
At the moment I discovered photography, since my first roll of Kodak TriX400.
What are some of the most important life lessons you’ve learned through your photography?
Sounds easy and later becomes so difficult, but for me, the biggest lesson as a photographer I learnt (and still learning), is that Photography is a long lifetime way where the main goal is to continue learning every day to know yourself and align that knowledge with your eyes and cameras. And the best of it is that is a never-ending process, meaning that I will be my best photographer ever possible the last instant I will be alive. And that motivates me deeply.
What networking do you do that you feel helps your photography business?
Well, I have to recognize I am quite bad in my commercial/media work as lots of artists but I use Social Media and Internet as my main platform to show my work and look for potential clients, showing my view in different areas, selling prints and doing exhibitions.
How do you keep coming up with projects and campaigns to photograph?
Working on Social Media and following old clients and potential new ones, and maintaining myself updated in tendencies and new ways of imagery.
Do you think social media plays a vital role in a photographer’s life?
Of course, I think at this moment is the main point of business for artists and creators.
What’s the best thing a photographer can give to his clients, fans and followers?
In my opinion, I think the best we can give is our view (they choose us for that), our advice for their image needs and good service and experience even when the situation makes it impossible. We have to give our best always even when we do natural work mistakes.
A lot of people are interested in photography for earning potential. What are some tips for people interested in making money from photography? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?
In this point, I must be super clear and I think photography, at this moment, is not a good business talking in general. Of course, there are ways to earn a good income but they are difficult and they need lots of investment (technical and super specific photography etc.), and especially in this 2020 situation Photography is one of the non-essential jobs who is complicated right now being realistic. Culture, Art and any kind of creation are sadly culturally not good recognized and there is lots of work Photographers and artists we have to do in this side.
What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your photography?
To be myself and loyal to my view and approach to photography, and show that through my social media, website and other channels. Our own value and our unique point of view is what makes us, photographers, beautifully different and our ideal client will choose (or not) us for that.
You have developed a signature style with your black and white photography. How did it come to be?
I have to say I was all my life, including my childhood, I real admirer of black and white photography. I also was really lucky to share plenty of time with my grandfather the painter Francisco Vidal Serrulla, who taught me since I was a kid lots about art and creation, and the approach of “less is more”, to simplify an art piece to the point of just leave the little keys who drives to different meanings, became the first step before I discovered the black and white language. It came in a natural way, with the intention to take away the color meanings and their attach to a “real” representation of reality who make me start “writing” in monochrome. I remember my first TriX, Tmax and Ilford rolls as the door of a wonderful world of expression, and that motivation still burns inside of me.
What advice have you got to young photographers who are just starting out and haven’t developed a style yet?
I really recommend them to eat. To eat and breath a lot. Eat magazines, exhibitions, documentaries, cinema, music shows, ballet, dance, opera, heavy metal, jazz, techno music… eat everything. Breath life, different cultures, different people, different places and weathers. Artists we have an amazing digestive system in our souls and, after eating lots of everything out mind takes out what is not meant for us and at that moment, starts the self-knowledge and is the first day of dozens of years of learning and enjoying creating.
What was the most challenging moment in your photography career so far and why?
I have to say it was two years ago when I have an unfortunate accident and broke my leg. Everything got complicated due to an unfortunate medical mistake in Ibiza’s Hospital and I finished myself fighting to save my life and my leg in Berlin. After 8 surgeries and a long process of pain, suffering etc I am finally good but my business suffered an almost lethal hit.
Every photographer has a favourite photo. What is yours and why?
One of my favourite pictures (included in the ones will be available to purchase as a print or T-shirt) is one I made in Ibiza around 2011. Its called “The Storm”, and it is now hanging over the wall of the living room of one of my best friends. Is a simple pic of a few clouds over the Salt mountain in Salinas (Ibiza) and is some kind of spiritual totem for me. Remembers me always that we have to pass sometimes in our lives over crazy storms but we always different, stronger and better.
Name some of the artists whom you look up to and why?
I am really eclectic in my references but I can name Michael Ackerman, Daido Moriyama, Jacob Aue Sobol, the great big classics (Avedon, Lindbergh…), Corbjin… There are lots and lots of really crazy good photographers and artists to follow, and I feel so grateful to live in this era where we can check their works just comfortably in a computer.
Where do you look to draw inspiration and develop ideas?
At this moment I am quite happy with the “algorithm” I finally educated in my social media and I check every day for inspiration there, and also from blogs I follow.
If someone was interested in photography, what would be a few things you would suggest?
Enjoy, first. Know yourself and write about it with your images.
It seems insensitive to not mention the current pandemic. How has it affected you and how are fellow Berliners dealing with it?
It’s a really difficult situation for all right now. We have a really unsafe future in front of us as creators. Here in Berlin the situation is still quite quiet and we are all still creating from our places but obviously all projects and commissions were cancelled so facing big financial problems right now and trying to don’t stop creating never. We all wait to write a new page in history form now, so let’s expect the best at first.
Any charities or non-profits organisations you would like to bring to the attention of our readers?
I have to say at this moment and during all my life all my family is really involved with several non-profit organizations so just encourage people to help other people in the best ways they can: be a nice human every day with everyone.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks a lot Julius for the chance to participate in your amazing project and hoping all who is reading it fine and safe in these crazy moments. Stay strong, positive, and don’t stop creating. Maybe now is a bad time for money-related actions but non-stop creating will free and comfort our souls as water in the desert. Love and peace, Jordi Jordi, many thanks for your time and sharing your journey with us. I wish you joy and fulfilment on the road ahead. Readers can learn more about Jordi and follow his journey via the links below.
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Unlimited Edition Framed Prints
For those of you who are not serious collectors but would still like a little bit of Jordi in your live, we have a collection of t-shirts, hoodies and tank tops and neck gaitors available below.