Photoblogs Magazine: Daniel, before going into the details of your art, let us know something more about you. Where are you from, where do you live, and what are the motivations for your artistic activity?
Daniel Herrera: I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, 48 years ago. When I was four I went to the USA, to the beautiful state of Virginia, where I did all my studies. I graduated in Fine Arts at the University of Northern Virginia. I have a master in Contemporary Arts. I am a painter, and a sculptor.
In the last four years I have been living in Barcelona. As they say, here I have encountered the wisdom of being in harmony with myself. Within this serenity I found Anna and photography. I don’t know which one of the two arrived first… and now I am devoted to them both.
PM: The subject of many of your photographs is your wife, Anna. Tell us about her. It is said that when Roentgen’s wife first saw the famous photograph of her hand, she wasn’t pleased at all with the result, and escaped in horror. I bet Anna’s reaction to your photos is very different, given the complicity between her eyes and your camera, so apparent in many of her portraits: what role is played by your personal relation with her in determining the themes of your photos? How much in the photos is Daniel, and how much it is Anna?
DH: In my view, more than Anna, are her eyes. They play a special game with the camera, and in this game… sometimes I find myself right in the middle… or above, below or aside. I would say that many times they would do well without me, even though sometimes my presence is absolutely essential. Especially for what will be the final photo, when there is no more camera, no more Anna, just me and an image, doomed to be immortal.
PM: Many of Anna’s photos are beautiful and tasteful nudes. This is something rare to find in the (photo)blogsphere. I remember reading on the Photoblogs.org discussion list a thread started by a young photographer wanting to experiment with nudes in his own photoblog. What advices would you give him?
DH: All nude bodies are beautiful, because they are in the state they came into the world… without decorations… without camouflage… Without deception, as in being naked we cannot hide anything and that makes us more pure…
I would say to these young photographers to experiment with nudes, with flowers, with landscapes, with dogs etc… The problem is not in the camera, but in the eye behind it.
PM: Anna is 6 month pregnant with your son Noah, and your photoblog features several photos of Anna and Noah at different stages in the pregnancy. Tell us about this project.
DH: One of the most wonderful things in life is to have a child, and the men that ever had their wife pregnant, I don’t know if they have realized it, they had a different woman every month. That is, it is a situation that prompts you to take advantage of this period in your life, with your photography, and other arts.
PM: Many of the 10,000 photoblogs around us are structured as online diaries by images, where the photos are posted straight from the camera, sometimes a camera-phone, as a chronological record of the blogger’s life. Your images, instead, are clearly the product of laborious photoshop manipulations, in which the original photos are transformed according to your personal vision to something unique and different than the original capture. Can you tell us about your workflow? Do you plan the final image when you are shooting, or the end result is something unpredictable that springs from your imagination only when you are working on it at the computer?
DH: I never know in advance which photo will end up in my photoblog, and how it will end up transformed. I am an alchemist in my lab, and since I use so much software together, I would say that my work is done in “Herrerashop”.
PM: You once said, to a fellow photoblogger that couldn’t find enough time to go around shooting, that the time was in him. Tell us about time, how do you find it, and how do you use it as a source of inspiration in your art (I am thinking of several photos collages of Anna superimposed with clocks-hands, and clock-wheels).
DH: The time is one-self… I am sure of that. It is you, that creates your time. One can always find time, what we are missing is getting more involved in our actions and less in our activities. In this way, we can find time.
We need to stay in harmony with the natural pace of the Universe. If you know yourself you will find your space and your time. I still find time to keep looking for myself…
PM: Finally, what is it about the fly and the spider?
DH: This is a story I was telling to my children when they were little, so that they would sleep in the long night of the Argentinian winters. It is the story of a spider that tries many and many times to lure a fly to visit her home, trying to dazzle her with luxury and pleasures, praising her… her wings… her color… until the fly starts to trust the spider and goes to visit its home. The spider captures the fly in its web, and devours her.
The moral of this story is:
Be careful with whom tries to dazzle you… because it can be your enemy and have concealed intentions.
This story is told in the photos “Deja-vu” from 1 to 5. These are photos of Anna pregnant, because following my tradition I am telling the story to Noah before he is born.