the wandering eye


He refers to himself as a “wandering photographer” and, guided by intuition and chance, he produces haunting and melancholic motifs in black and white. With his Leica M6 and his unerring sense of light and composition, Campano transforms the mundane into poetry.

The project is titledThe wandering eye– because?
I really like wandering and getting lost in cities. I like to travel and see things with new eyes: hotels in a city, with those rooms from which you can see the city from the window; shop windows and signs; the bars, each with a different name; markets and bookstores…

Where would you draw the line between a street photographer and a drifter?
I think wandering photographers are guided by instinct, by impulses without a fixed script. They make decisions and choose routes as they go, leaving room for chance.

How did you come up with the idea for this project? And when did you start it?
This project began the day I was given my first camera, with which I went out into the streets to learn, to learn to take photos and to learn to look.

Since it is a long-term project, how and when will it find an end?
I don’t have a planned ending. It will last as long as the last time I wandered around with my camera.

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Your photographs have a very calm atmosphere, sometimes even melancholic. What do you like to transmit with your work?
Although it is not my intention, it is inevitable that the photos have a nostalgic and melancholic component –perhaps due to the passage of time and the
transience of each moment, which cannot be repeated. It may be that black and white also contributes to that feeling.

Why black and white photos?
My preference was for black and white from the beginning, because it seemed more unreal and poetic to me. Also, it was much more accessible then for a photographer who was starting out, because you could make your own prints. The color had to be taken to a laboratory and, in addition to being expensive, the results were often disappointing. However, in more recent years, I also really enjoy taking color photographs; and I’m not prejudiced against using digital cameras, which are getting better all the time and give you better control over colors.

First he studied law, then he worked in a bank. What was the turning point in your life that made you decide to become a photographer?
I decided to stop working as a lawyer in a bank because it did not satisfy me; did not fulfill me By then I was already a fan of photography. I subscribed to two high-quality photography magazines featuring classic and contemporary photographers: Creative Camera, in English; and Chamber, Switzerland. I was constantly buying photography books and with each passing day I became even more excited. At some point, I decided to become a photographer, so that it would be both my way of earning a living and my means of expression. The truth is that at first it was not easy, but finally I was able to dedicate myself fully to photography. Professionally, I worked as a freelance for the press and editorial media, and made art reproductions for museums and galleries, which allowed me to also dedicate time to my more personal and creative work.

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Do you have idols in the arts or photography?
I always likedpainting and I felt drawn to it, especially by the avant-garde movements of the 20th century. Regarding photography, Andre Kertesz seemed very good to me, very natural. Robert Frank was modern and innovative, and I remember repeatedly looking atThe AmericansandThe lines of my hand. Among the photographers closest to my generation is Bernard Plossu, whom I was lucky enough to meet in Paris, just after buyingLe Voyage Mexico, and whom I have not stopped admiring and visiting.

How would you describe your photographic approach?
Photography is my best means of expression to communicate with the world around me. Poetry and emotion are always present. I try to capture all those things that catch my attention, that are suggestive and provocative, as if they were waiting for you to appear with your camera. In summary, for me it is about enjoying and learning from everything that life puts before your eyes.

What kind of equipment did you use? And how did it perform?
Until the end of the eighties I used different cameras with 50mm lenses. So, I was finally able to fulfill my dream (the dream of so many photographers) of owning a Leica. Mine is an M6, also with a 50mm lens, which I haven’t stopped using ever since.

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Please complete the following sentence: Photography is (for me)…
Photography has always had a magical component for me: stop time and then bring it back to life, with the help of light and your camera. And with a little heart; because the photographs are hunches, a curious look and eyes willing and trained to see everything that surrounds you.

Self-taught,Javier Campano(Madrid, 1950) began working professionally as a photographer in 1975. His beginnings are linked to the magazine Nueva Lente, a publication that broke with the predominant humanist and documentary vision of those times, seeking risky and subjective approaches to the motives that the camera captured. In those years of transformation, a new generation of photographers appeared in Madrid. They arrived with marked stylistic differences, but with a common interest in portraying nearby worlds, above all the figures and settings of the open and plethoric Madrid in which they lived, in close and creative friendship with other artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians. Since then, the city and its urban interiors have been the protagonists of Campano’s images. He has published numerous books and has appeared in numerous exhibitions, both individual and group.

Leica M

The Leica. Yesterday. This day. Morning.

PostingThe wandering eyefirst appeared inThe Leica Camera Blog.

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