F-Stop Magazine: How did you first become involved in photography and what led to you working in this medium as an artist?
David Barreiro: I had always had great interest in art, so much that finally I decided to leave my studies in computer engineering to study art. Between the disciplines I decided to take one year of to find myself, and in that year I began to take pictures. In that time my interest in photography increased tremendously, so that in the end I decided to specialize in that field. What attracted me most, I suppose, is the multidisciplinary character of the medium. For me it was always difficult to focus on one thing, and photography allows me to bring together some of my interests within a single media.
F-Stop: The “Documentary” issue of F-Stop includes your project “The hill of the restless wolves,” can you tell us about this project? What led to you creating this project?
DB: I have been living in Iceland on and off since 2006, and one day in 2007 I drove through one of the new neighborhoods in the outskirts of Reykjavik. The neighborhood was being built all at once, which was quite impressive for me but it made me think, where did all that money come from? Five years later I came back to that area and saw that they had managed to finish their work. As I drove around I found, on the opposite side of the valley, an urban complex of large single-family houses in the making. The developing of these houses had been almost stand still since the crisis popped in 2008. As I wandered around I thought to myself that this could be an interesting environment to develop a photographic project as the area seemed to me like a town where people were trying to return to normal life after devastating consequences of war. I hoped to develop a project that would raise questions about the bidirectional links between the individual and his environment and induce reflection on the dominant values in countries with free market systems and class aspirations in that context.
F-Stop: Can you discuss your process for making these images or your creative process more generally?
DB: I make decisions regarding the aesthetic of the project depending on the topic I am working with. I don´t believe in the idea of the photographer keeping certain style their whole career once they find one that works. In this case I wanted to make images that would create a distance between the spectator and the subject, something like what would happen in a play at the theatre. When I was portraying people I wanted them to be just characters in a play, part of the whole scenario.
F-Stop: What do you hope people see or feel or perhaps learn when they look at these photographs?
DB: For me the important thing is that people thinks about what they are looking at, that’s why I give a lot of info with each picture. I also try to attract them to the topic through composition and colour. I tried to create perfect compositions according to my own criteria. So I would say that this work is especially for those who are patient enough to spend time looking and also thinking about what they are seeing. I think the pictures are complex in some way, because the topic is also complex.
F-Stop: Do you have a favorite image in this series? If so, which one and why is it the image that speaks to you most?
DB: If I would have to choose one of them that would probably be the one with the young football player on the brand new field. It comes about the aesthetical value of the picture itself. It is also one of the pictures from the project which speaks about the topic more indirectly, and I like that.
F-Stop: What is the intended “end” or “purpose” for the project? (i.e, book, multi media piece, etc)
DB: When I started working on it I was thinking about an exhibition and magazine format, that’s why I edited thinking about a short series, but after a year looking at a lot of books I might be changing my mind and considering a small publication.
F-Stop: What are you working on now?
DB: I am working on the edition of a photobook about the tourism industry in iceland, or more exactly about the inside of it. I´m hoping to have it ready at the end of this year. It is going slowly but surely.
F-Stop: What photographers or other artists inspire you?
DB: Right now I am looking at the work of Bryan Schutmaat and Rob Hornstra. I think they are both amazing photographers.
F-Stop: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
DB: Someone told me not so many years ago to do whatever I wanted, to stop thinking about where it would drive me. Just work. That is probably one of the best advices anyone can get.
For more of David Barreiro’s work: www.davidbarreiro.com