Interview with:
Raul Diaz

Raul Diaz

Where are you born and when?

I was born in Santiago, Chile In 1968

Where do you live?

I grew up in the U.S and I have been living in Paris, for the last 30 years.

When and how do you start your path in photography?

At the age of 12, I received my first Polaroid camera for my birthday. So I started photography very early. At the age of 16, I bought a better Polaroid camera and started doing portraits of my colleagues at the record store where I worked. Later I studied photography at art college in N.Y, and even though I was taught many techniques, and witnessed the birth of digital photography, I always kept my Polaroid by my side.

Who were the three photographers that inspired you at the beginning and who are the three ones that inspire you now?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

My first influences in photography were the images of Irving Penn, William Klein and, Lee Friedlander. Penn for his radical framing and balance, Klein for his modernity and dynamically staged images, and finally Friedlander for his looseness and imaginative ability to capture magical scenes in an everyday setting.

Later in my influences, are the images of Guy Bourdin, Bruce Weber and, Patrick Nagel, who is not a photographer but a graphic artist.
Bourdin introduced a certain, surrealism in his photography that intrigued me right away. His images are sexy and colorful he also used Polaroid as a medium for several of his well known images. Bruce Weber’s spontaneous images as well as his amazing use of natural light. Always energetic and fun. His book ’Rio de Janeiro’ was a major influence on me and on how I give that energy to my own photo shoots and photography.
Lastly, there is Nagel. Although not a photographer, his artwork has always inspired me. He is best know for his Duran Duran album covers, but I discovered his work in 80s Playboy Magazines, where his illustrations were featured monthly. He, like Bourdin, had a very slick and sexy, yet elegant approach to fashion. This is something that is imperative in my work.

Did you go to a school or are you a self-taught?

I was educated SVA, (The School of Visual Arts) in New York, then later at The Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.

Do you make photography as a living?

After a nice run as a published fashion and portrait photographer, I was obliged to stop my career at the end of the first production of Polaroid film.
I refused to convert to digital, so I opened a Gallery/Boutique specializing in
vintage Polaroid cameras and images. This lasted for 10 yrs, I finally decided to close the shop and give a professional photographic career another try. Well, here I am, struggling. It’s hard to get back into the business unless you do digital. I do have regular fashion clients and collectors that buy my work, but it’s hardly making a living.

What do you like in photography, what is your motivation?

I like to construct my images. As much as I appreciate street photography, I’m just quick enough with a Polaroid to capture correctly this kind of image. So, I’d have to say that meeting new people and making magic together is my main motivator.

What do you want to express or arouse in those who watch your images?

Lust - Beauty - Light - and Composition.

What are your preferred moment(s) in the creation process?

Meeting the person that you will be working with for the first time.
That first conversation, the trust and, confidence that is established.
Then comes the surroundings. What is the light like? What do we have in front of us to work with? When everything falls into place is the moment I enjoy most.

What are your three most representative images, and why?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

For the fashion aesthetic and double Polaroid framing, which has become a signature in my work.
For the natural light and color. Not to mention the exquisite subject.
For the constructed light and effects. I have been experimenting with ’Light Painting’ techniques using Polaroid.

What equipment and/or techniques do you use?

It is not a matter of brands/lenses, it is mostly about analog/digital, preferred light (natural/flash), how much post-production, etc.

POLAROID with natural or constructed light and a good scanner. Period.

How and why your work as changed since you started?

Over the years I’ve gone from portraits to fashion and always artistically.
Having been published in various magazines and books I developed a certain fashion aesthetic in my work. I guess I have to say that my work hasn’t changed as much as my subjects have. I still continue to use the same slick aesthetics, only applied to nude or more fetish imagery.

What do you think about the fact that nowadays photography is mostly enjoyed on the Internet?

I’m not sure that it is fully enjoyed unless it’s really in front of you. I love books and expositions.

Why did you decide to join the nudeartzine project?

My kind of imagery and energy.

Would you have an insight or advice to give to whomever is watching your work and wants to learn photography?

Fuck technique, zoom lenses, expensive cameras and, equipment. First, loosen yourself up. Discover what you like. Learn from your mistakes.
Just close your eyes and point in the right direction. You’ll be surprised at what you get.

What are your plans in the future?

More shootings and adventures, expos and books!

On what page our readers can find more of your work?

As for the kind of work included here, I recommend my Instagram @rrrdiaz

Would you like to add something else?

I’d just like to say that, I’ve learned so much from my mistakes, that I am thinking of making a few more.

Last updated 11/04/2021 08:04:55

Books by Raul Diaz

Cover of nudeartzine volume #05}
nudeartzine volume #05

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