Location

Talk to Her: The Location from Pedro Almodovar's Viewpoint

Pedro Almodóvar’s thoughts on photography, the differences between photos and pictures in motion, and his personal interest in photography.

My interest in taking photos has arisen and developed in my maturity. I think that’s happened so because nowadays I’m more aware of the importance of time and of the power photographic images have to capture and perpetuate it. Even though my job is made of images in motion complemented with sound, whenever I’m in the process of taking notes, rehearsing, finding locations, or managing my agenda, I’ve always preferred photography to video or writing. But that doesn’t make me a photographer – just like typists are not considered writers for doing 200 keystrokes a minute. I’ve taken thousands of photos over these past years. I’ve captured everyday objects and situations, sometimes I just stood before the mirror and snapped. But I’ve never had the future in mind while doing it – to me this is a way of living the present moment – and no narcissistic leitmotif runs the process either. I photograph the corners at home, the view from my window – which hardly varies except for the regular seasonal changes and some atmospheric phenomenon, if any. The inside details of the thousands of hotels I take lodgings in – regardless of their elegance -, my reflection on a window pane fading in the panorama. Sometimes I photograph my clothes as well as that of the people I live with, their prints on the furniture, objects, my shadow on the ground, the silhouette of my head on a friend’s body. And of course, when I’m making a movie I capture each and every moment with my camera. It’s not just a way of relaxing, it’s also a way of gathering information that later acts as the best type of input costume designers, make-up artists, hairstylists, decorators, cinematographers and producers, alike may ever hope for. And just like parents start pestering their babies with their cameras as soon as they are born, I try to capture the evolution experienced throughout the several processes movies undergo. Movies are brought to life from the very first pre-production day. They grow before you with that power so particular of miracles or catastrophes, and since I don’t trust my memory much, I like having these as tokens: photos and photos again. All you need is your finger, a camera and a proper standpoint to look from. Throughout the shooting of a film, directors often sit or stand in places in the set where there is room enough for just one person – if at all – so the photos they take are unique; no one sees what they see from where they see it. And I’m not the kind of director that just sits all day on a chair with my name on it, not at all, but when I do sit down in front of the player, it’s the screen and the whole chassis that become my subject. I love all the environments in which images are multiplied, everything surrounding the image that’s being shot: the chaotic set except for the frame, the whole cinematography paraphernalia – a truly independent and abstract set that melts as if by chance with the image of the actors and the scene they are playing. The random combination of all these elements creates extraordinary images, and in many cases these are more splendid, stunning and expressive than those portrayed in the movie itself. I’ve tried to capture as many as my leisure time has allowed, and now they compose this show which aims not at being visited as a photo exhibition (I’m not a photographer yet) but at becoming a casual and partial testimony of the shooting of a film, Talk with her. Let me make use of the Fnac’s generous invitation to, humbly but delightedly, share the privileged place I occupy in a shooting.

Published 4 September 2002
Original in Spanish
Translated by Marcy Goldberg

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