Dazed Digital

Santiago / Español

Juan Pablo Molina

March 7, 2012

One of Santiago's newest photography talents returns from China with stunning images in tow

  • Text by Fer Munizaga

Formerly a history student, Juan Pablo Molina turned to photography after joining the TAI school in Madrid before returning back to Chile and participating in a roll call of inspiring photography projects including the Ch.ACO exhibition in Santiago and in the Transtatlántica PhotoEspaña meeting in La Paz, Bolivia. His captivating work is honest and sincere and expect big things from this emerging talent.

Satellite Voices: How did you get interested in photography?
Juan Pablo Molina:
Ever since I was little I was interested in photography. At age 16 I took the typical course with Bob Borowicz and the first photographer I remember I liked was Cartier-Bresson and all of the photographers of the Magnum agency. But it wasn’t until 2008, when I researched the Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain Echenique for a seminar, mainly about his magnificent book “Valparaiso”, when I decided to follow his steps.

SV: What inspires you to photograph?
Juan Pablo Molina:
Human beings and their environment, mainly urban. I can find inspiration in movies of all times, literature, music, paintings and arts in general, as well as in everyday life. However, landscapes with greater peace of mind where I can get in touch with nature and myself, is where I find more sources of inspiration.

SV: What national and international photographers do you highlight?
Juan Pablo Molina:
This answer could be very long. There are several national and many international. Besides the well-known photographers and the ones that have been essential in the history of photography, I always like to be aware of the work of new photographers. At this moment I’ve been concentrating in the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, Rineke Dijkstra, Rinko Kawauchi, Lise Sarfati, Alec Soth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mark Steinmetz and the list could go on.

SV: You've travelled a lot with your photography?
Juan Pablo Molina:
Last year I made a trip on my own to China for a month and a half for a photographic series. I was on a journey between two Tibetan villages that lasted 18 hours in a bus that was for 10 people but it was filled with 13, where I was the only foreigner. I was thinking, I needed a picture to finish the series. I passed a desert landscape where red, yellow and orange colours were mixed with the blue sky, opposed to the white Yangtze River that was completely frozen. We were almost 4000 meters high and I thought that was the picture I needed to finish the series. I tried to stop the bus to take the picture but everyone was asleep and nobody understood what I was trying to say. They thought I wanted to go to the bathroom. So I stopped the car in the next town we passed, about one hour later. With gestures and facial expressions I finally made the driver go back to that place with everybody inside the bus. We drove two more hours, but no one argued, that happens only in China. I finally took the picture, but I didn’t include it in the final edition of the China exhibition.

SV: What are your current plans?
Juan Pablo Molina:
My next challenge is to start working with large format cameras. And I have several projects mainly related to portraits.

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