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Paloma Rincón on the joy of photography, life in Madrid and coping during difficult times


Born in Mexico and based in Madrid, Paloma Rincón is a photographer who creates work ranging from experimental and personal projects to commercial assignments for worldwide brands.

Her quirky images are marked by bold colours, graphic compositions and unexpected juxtapositions. These playful and contemporary photographs are the result of a meticulous planning process, resulting in a selection of props, textures and lighting techniques that all come together in a unique harmony. By combining her masterful technical knowledge with the creative approach of a craftsman, Paloma plays with reality and allows the beauty of handcraft to recover its value and magic in our digital world.

We caught up with Paloma to find out more about her career so far and how she’s coping with the current global crisis.

Did you always know you wanted to be a photographer and art director?
Since high school, I began to be interested in photography. There is something in its immediacy that has always attracted me. Over time, I found in this medium the possibility of mixing a more technical and formal part with another that’s very creative.  I have been able to develop a style in which many of my interests and abilities fit. I started doing small magazine collaborations and assisting in a professional studio where I could see how the industry worked in large productions. There, I learned a lot. After a few years working for other photographers and developing my own projects at the same time, I became completely independent and dedicated myself just to my own work. Currently I do commercial work especially for advertising and at the same time I develop personal projects or smaller and more experimental collaborations.

Can you describe your style?
I create in a very graphic, colourful, bold and optimistic style. I mix different techniques in the creation of my scenes and I capture them with the camera playing with the most technical part of photography.

What inspires your work?
I am interested in many things from the everyday world. I like to look around trying to avoid the usual constraints and find different connections between things. The colour, textures, materials and designs of the natural world, architecture, sculpture and arts, it’s a very wide range what can inspire me. Many times the ideas are developed from a concept, but many others from the more formal investigation of a material and its interactions in the real world, or it could be a certain way of using light. Actually, there are many sources of inspiration that nurture my projects and connect in different ways.

Can you tell us more about your process?
Everything starts with an idea. From this starting point I work on an initial documentation phase. That is followed by a creative development where the different aspects of the idea are specified and from there I make sketches and colour palettes. With all this, I prepare the shoot designing and building the necessary elements for the set and all the needed props to develop the image. With everything ready I move to shoot the different images and finish with the post-production phase.

You’re based in Madrid, what is creative scene like there?
Madrid has a very active creative scene and I’m connected with professionals working on many different disciplines: from people working in the photography and film industries to illustrators, designers, etc. It’s small enough for many of us to know each other and big enough for being able to discover people continuously. There are a few events that help creating a sense of community and as a very social culture we love to meet and connect.

You have a big following on Instagram, how are you finding using it these days?
Instagram is a great platform to communicate with your audience and show what you’re up to. It’s also a great place to discover other artists and proposals.

On the other hand, there’s also a big trend of people following just to get a followback or fake followings which are not very helpful, but it’s gotten so big that it’s understandable. Not everybody uses it in the same way.

You also run online photography courses too, what quick tips can you share?
I don’t know a shortcut for doing things, it’s always a matter of dedication and that is also applied to photography. The one and most important tip I can tell is to DO, to explore, to try. That’s the best and only way I know to learn.

If you ever get creative block, what do you do to get going again?
I think that creative blocks are one more phase of the process. Ideas don’t come immediately and concepts don’t always work as we initially think. It’s important to give ourselves the space and time to fail and re focus our ideas. Being patient and embracing this part of the process is something needed to make a project develop and grow.

My best advice here is not to get desperate, let it rest a bit, do something completely different and when you get back to it, hopefully your mind can see it through a different point of view.

How are you coping with the current crisis?
Given the current unusual times, I’m trying to normalize my routines. First, working, it is a very important part for my mind to stay optimistic and focused. I am very fortunate to have my flat and studio connected and to be able to work in a very similar way to a normal situation. I keep a normal schedule and exercise at home. My yoga classes are really helping me to deal with what is happening. I also try to stay in contact with my loved ones through video calls and try to have some social life, even in the distance.

What advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My most important advice is to pursue a career in photography just if you are really passionate about it. You must really love it because involves many sacrifices. From there you have to try, exercise, make mistakes and learn little by little. This is how you get to discover a language and develop it, being active and not waiting for the ideal project to arrive. Working in the portfolio is essential for any photographer of any genre and personal projects is where you can prove what you can do.

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