Behind The Lense – With Madrid’s Most Persistent Street Photographer

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Daniel Valledor
Behind The Lense – With Madrid's Most Persistent Street Photographer

In a day and age where everyone can share their perspective with a single touch on their smartphone screen, something that goes beyond perspectives has become rare: documenting life via candids. Daniel Valledor is an old-school photographer who confidently relies on old tools to produce timeless images.

The Spanish photographer and director credits has been finding warm words for Spanish street photography legends such as Ramon Masats, Catalá-Roca or Joan Colom. For influences and inspiration, he also credits Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis, as well as Roger Deakins. You will notice that the last three, if familiar to you, are cinematography icons. Valledor, who started visual arts from the cinematographic perspective, has taken a lot of techniques and works from the specific craft into his street photography. 

Although his work is completely candid, the never fails to tell a narrative through his use of light and skills.

When it comes to gear, he trusts an analogue camera, and even for film his choices could be mistaken for those of a filmmaker.

His reasoning is pretty specific and solid, given the fact that digital cameras might give more control over certain settings, but they take focus and control from making particular decisions. Decisions that shape your work significantly. In a recent interview, he stated that “Every click is the result of your decision to capture a certain moment and not the other one instants away. Digital photography definitely got rid of that limitation. Even though this was actually a good thing, I believe it has backfired to a point where I personally couldn’t tell between what made sense and what didn’t anymore. I guess I got to a point where I found myself blasting pictures in burst mode just to capture a specific moment, sort of trying to “cheat” time somehow, and this made me rethink my entire process.”

A struggle that many great photographers have emphasized in the past, backing up Valledor’s point of view. His unique eye for perception indeed distinguishes him from the average photographer. Valledor has always stayed close to film, and after directing his first movie in 2006, he returned to the position 6 years later.

In 2012, he co-directed ‘Ngutu,’ a short film winning over 50 awards and over 180 selections in festivals. Whether he is looking to work on motion pictures again in the future remains unclear, though his image language keeps its cinematic approach.

In the last five years, he has been fully dedicated to the streets of Madrid. His emotional documentary of the city’s diversity has turned him into a recognized name in the street photography scene and a representative of Spain’s capital. His book on the subject will see the light this year.