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BUSINESS - INTERVIEW

Interview with Jorge Alvariño, Advertising Photographer

Jorge Alvariño met photography in his childhood and stepped into his professional career as a unit still photographer. With the experience he gained from his observations in the movie industry, he performs advertising photography with cinematographic perspective.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Jorge Alvariño

Jorge Alvariño

BUSINESS - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Although we always see moving scenes in the movies we watch, the importance of photography in the world of cinema is enormous. The simplest is movie posters. The movie poster with high-quality visual influences the audience and invites them to the theaters. We even watched productions where a single poster is more beautiful than the entire movie. Jorge Alvariño is an award-winning photographer who creates these posters for movies. Jorge Alvariño preferred to have all control in his productions, and in 2002 he decided to establish his own studio. He realized that film marketing and advertising are similar worlds. Then he decided to turn his route and specialized in advertising photography. And since then, he has been offering his clients advertising photography solutions. I talked with advertising photographer Jorge Alvariño about his career.

Jorge, before talking about photography, I would like to learn more about you. Could you tell us about yourself? Who is Jorge Alvarino?

I am a lover of cinema, tv series and video games. I love eating and try all kinds of food and I do my best cooking for my friends and family. And I love to travel!

When did you get your first camera? Do you remember the first photo that you shoot with it?

My first photo camera was a very simple compact reel camera. My parents gave it to me when as a present when I made my first communion. I do not remember exactly which was the first photo, I do remember that the first reel lasted just minutes!

My first professional camera was the one that my father uses for taking photos on our family trips. I was always asking him to let me shoot one picture and look through the viewfinder.

Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Photo by Jorge Alvariño

How did you decide to pursue a career in photography? What inspired you?

On trips as a child, I remember my father always with a camera in his hands. That was the first impulse of curiosity towards the world of photography.

Later on, my brothers started making short films, and I was going to help as I could, and meanwhile, I was taking some pictures here and there on the set. That was my first professional contact with unit still photography.

In 2001 they came to shoot a movie in Salamanca in which one of my brothers worked as an art director. When he found out they needed a local video assist, he thought of me. At that time I was studying biology in college and was not particularly enthusiastic about it. At the end of the shooting of the movie, the director of photography offered me to go to Madrid to shoot another film, and then an ad, another movie ... It took me seconds to realize that I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Open Windows Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Open Windows Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

You have begun your career as a unit still photographer in the movie industry. How did this atmosphere affect your photographic approach?

It affects 100% I do not conceive my style and way of working without the way a film crew works. Everything I know was learned by watching the different film technicians, from how a director of photography illuminates, to how a director directs actors. That is the main reason why all my photos have that cinematic atmosphere.

What inspired you to decide to establish your own studio?

To have 100% control of the productions.

Could you tell us about your studio?

It is currently in development. It is a team of high-end professionals, very versatile people who come together for the specific projects according to the needs. The usual team consists of three people, me and two assistants, although right now I am expanding with a retoucher and a producer.

Telefonica Ad - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Telefonica Ad - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

What kind of services do you offer to your clients?

All the necessary services to bring your proposals to reality. From preproduction to postproduction.

How did your interest in advertising photography has begun? What is the most special aspect of ad photography for you?

It started working with film distribution companies, photographing the promotional key art material for posters and marketing. I realized that film marketing and advertising are similar worlds, with high levels of demand for the quality of final arts.

What I like the most about advertising photography is that each project is different, there is no possibility of getting bored. Each project is unique.

Vodafone Ad - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Vodafone Ad - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

You have worked in numerous campaigns for many globally recognized brands such as Coca-cola, Vodafone, and Movistar. What are the key points that you pay attention to most before accepting a new project?

First, the project has to be close to my style. But in advertising, if an agency or client offers you a job, is because you match the style they want. Second, the budget has to be enough to reach the levels of quality that I have, and the client and agency want. Third, I have to love the idea. I don’t like to work if I am not 100% comfortable with the image I am doing. If these key points are ok, I am in.

How would you describe the effect of the quality of the ad photo on the customers' decisions?

In the entertainment industry, good key art can bring people to the cinemas, or make them click and watch the movie in VOD (video on demand). Even if the movie is terrible.

Bad key art can make people to not choose that movie, even if the movie is wonderful.

That's my reference for how can a customer be affected by ads.

Clive Owen - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Clive Owen - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Portrait photography has an important place in your career. What do you enjoy most about photographing people? Is it different to work with celebrities?

Above all, I consider myself a portraitist, and I adapt that ability to film and advertising, but in the end, almost 95% of the work I do is portraits.

What I like most is the interaction with people, create characters with them and project them towards the camera.

With celebrities the main complication is the time, they usually have very little and many people around them that makes the direct and close contact really complicated.

Securitas Zero-vision - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Securitas Zero-vision - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

What kind of other photography fields do you like to work on?

I really don’t do a lot of commercial or personal work that is different from film and advertising. I would like to take pictures from helicopters, or with drones, for example. To be able to fly with the camera…

Perfectos Desconocidos Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Perfectos Desconocidos Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

What are the advantages of an award-winning photographer? Could you tell us about the awards that you won?

Awards give prestige and visibility, but do not usually give direct work. Its use is to legitimize you in the face of future clients, but winning prizes has not made my phone ring more.

I won the Platinum and Sol for the best poster of the year for the work in “Perfectos Desconocidos”, the Feroz prize for the poster of “Quien te cantará” and several awards with the Zerovision Securitas Direct campaign, including a Lux and a One Eyeland.

Quien te cantar Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Quien te cantar Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Is it possible for abroad clients to work with you for their projects in their own countries?

Of course, I usually work with foreign companies both in Spain and in their countries.

Which factors determine the project budget?

In advertising, the budget is highly determined by the royalties for the photographer for the use of the photos, and the royalties of the models that come out in the campaigns. It is not the same that a campaign is used in Germany 1 year than in the whole world, for example. Neither to be used only for online or billboards.

Also, the days of work; travel, hotels, and per diems of the crew; postproduction, CGI if there's any.

As I told before, each project is unique and the budget also.

Intruders Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Intruders Movie Poster - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Smartphones and affordably priced DSLR cams made everyone is more enthusiastic about photography. How did this affect the professional photography industry?

At a certain level, it is doing a lot of damage to professionals, it seems that the photos are made by the cameras and the cameras at the end are tools that photographers handle. The differentiating factor should be the professional, not the tool.

In high-level advertising, it hardly shows.

What advice would you give to photographers who want to pursue a career in photography? How could they choose the right specialty?

Do what you love the most. Be critic with your work and extremely demanding. Develop a personal style, something unique and yours, that can't be done exactly the same by anyone else. Be as faithful to yourself and your style, be nice to all the people who work with you and always deliver the work on time.

Popcorn - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

Popcorn - Photo by Jorge Alvariño

What is your favorite photograph that you have ever taken?

The “Popcorn” picture from my personal series “A Screwball Date” could be one of those. Its the first time I shoot an image with an advertising look, coming from a sketch and perfectly executed. As also lots of postproduction, mixing two shoots one with the main characters and another with an assistant throwing the popcorn in the air. This image was a step up in my career.

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

I'm a little bit tired of Facebook, but super happy with Instagram. I use to post lots of histories and answer question very often. They can follow me @JAlvarinoPhoto

What is next for you?

I'm working on a couple of international campaigns, with first level brands, but really can't tell because of confidentiality. You will see the ads very soon!

Thank you Jorge for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Jorge Alvariño





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