Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mando Alvarez

I am a fan of Mando Alvarez, one of these great emerging photographers, from Texas. He sure is an inspiration for most of his followers. He has the talent to turn everyday life scenes into tremendous pictures. His photographs are all full of magic, greediness and fun. What I love the most about his photographs is that you can see how important it is for him to keep on shooting film. I had the chance to ask him a few questions, to which he nicely replied to:


Besides your name and city, it is hard to find informations about you. Can you tell a little something about yourself?
Mando Alvarez: I have lived in South Texas for most of my life. I am a husband and a father of two beautiful children. I love to read, draw, play acoustic and electric guitar, and shoot pictures on analog cameras.

Do you have a favorite place to shoot?
M. A.: I don't have a favorite place to shoot. I will try to look for a photograph anywhere I can.

Did you study photography or are you a self-taught?
M. A.: I have never had any formal photography training. I learned everything I know by hands-on experimenting and also by reading old photography books. Old photography books are a great way to learn because they teach you how to use a camera. The photography books of today teach you how to use the computer to fix the photographs you take. The best way for anyone to learn is to get out there with an old manual film camera and jump right in. There is no substitute for that.

What does photography mean to you?
M. A.: Photography is a big part of my life, but it is not the main thing in my life. Sure, it means a lot to me, but it also allows me to capture what goes on around me--the important things. It is certainly not an obsession, and recently I took a step back from it to pursue other interests, but I am about to start again.

Do you usually edit your pictures?
M. A.: I do not usually edit my photos. I am not totally against it, but I try to avoid it at all costs. There is a certain pride involved in making a beautiful exposure, and that is a big part of the fun for me. Once in a while I'll have to clean up dust on a scan, and if absolutely necessary, I'll make minor adjustments to the contrast of a photo, but only if it will make a photo better. Obviously the scanner also has something to do with it, but about 99% of my photos on flickr are straight scans.

Do you like it when people use Photoshop?
I don't dislike photos where photoshop is used, but I do not like photos that have changed the reality of a scene. The best photos in my opinion are those where you can't tell that post-processing has been used. When the post processing overtakes the photo, that cannot be a good thing.

When you are taking a picture, do you have it in mind?
M. A.: Sometimes I'll have an idea in mind for a photograph and other times I'll just shoot something that I like. It is much easier and fun for me when I see something that is worth photographing as opposed to having to think of things to photograph all the time.

What inspires you?
M. A.: I'm definitely inspired by my family, and motivated by great photographs and photographers. I like photographs that make me want to go out and shoot. My favorite photographer is Stephen Shore, but I also like Eggleston, Parr, and Erwitt. No one compares to these guys.

To finish, if you had a time machine, when and where would you go?
M. A.: I would love to go back into the 1950s and live the "Leave it to Beaver" lifestyle. Too many bad things going on in this world today.

© Mando Alvarez

Check out Mando's website, it is definitely worth it.


  1. Awesome Lisa! Nice to see you blogging, too!

    M.A. -> *****STars

  2. Thomas Bach NielsenAugust 9, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Thank you for posting this.. Mando is really an inspiration.!

  3. Cool !
    Thanks for the interview Lisa, I'm a huge fan of Mando's photographs :-)


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