Spotlight: Esteban Torres On Tour in Colombia and NYC

By David Schonauer   Tuesday October 31, 2017

It all starts with walking.

“It’s an activity I do almost everyday, walking with my camera, being perceptive about the people who surround me,” says Estaban Torres, a photographer based in Colombia and New York City. In a sense, wandering is how Torres came to photography in the first place, by way of writing.

“When I was 16, I was living in Medellín, Colombia, a new city for me because I was raised by the sea on the Caribbean coast, so this was a totally different environment for me in the beautiful mountains of Colombia,” he says. “There I was writing about the people I was seeing in the street — the street boys, the smugglers, the prostitutes, the indigenous peoples displaced from the jungle to beg for money in the city — but also the landscape, nature, mountains and the beautiful people of Antioquia.”

It was then that his father gave him a camera — a Minolta X-700 SLR.  “With this camera I began to do street photography and portrait photography,” he says. “I like to explore and work constantly on it. Since then I haven’t stopped, and since 2010 I have been participating in exhibitions and looking forward to being published in magazines.” Torres has also been freelancing for modeling agencies and shooting portraits of artists.

“I try to keep myself busy,” he says. “I think that as a photographer you must learn many languages inside the art world and within photography itself, so you can reinvent yourself and read beyond your own taste.”

At top and below are some samples of his street photography:

Two of the photographs Torres shot while walking were named winners of the Latin American Fotografia 5  competition, and we spotlight them today:

The first, titled “Mythological Creature,” was taken in a small Colombian fishing village called Taganga. “Normally you take public bus to go there, but I wanted to walk the road. It is on a mountain with the sea behind, and it is where many poor people live — something similar to an a favela,” Torres says. “So I went walking in short pants, a tee shirt, and sneakers, with my film camera. And on the road I found this kid playing with his parrot. He was very friendly, and I begin to speak with them both. Then, when I started to take photos, the boy put the bird over his head and the bird opened its wings. I pressed the shutter and captured this mythological creature.

The second LAF-winning image was taken in the subway in New York. “I saw this remarkable looking man and was immediately attracted for the strong colors of his skin, so I asked it I could shoot a portrait of him. He said yes. I told him to wait until the train stops because my film is not very fast. He gave me a very direct look. It’s something I like when I’m doing a portrait. He was right there at the instant. Afterward I said, ‘You must be a model,' and he replied that he was. Months afterward, I discovered that he is Paul Souffrant, one of the top models in New York. I eventually looked him up and gave him the photo I’d taken, and he was pretty happy with it.”

“All these photos are looking to say something true about the gestures of people that we see in the street and often ignore,” Torres says. “But behind those unknown faces there are stories that are absolutely interesting.”

See Estaban Torres at Instagram  and Facebook.


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