Are you ready to immerse yourself in the captivating and atmospheric world of photographer Frank Diamond?
With a signature style that blends photomontage and a dim, poetic atmosphere, Frank’s work is not for the faint of heart. But fear not – behind every haunting image lies a deeply personal story, as Frank uses his art as a way to heal and overcome negative experiences. From hiding the faces of his subjects to using masks and abandoned locations, Frank’s photography is an exercise in introspection and the search for identity.
Join us as we delve into the mind of this self-taught Spanish artist who has already made a splash in the world of artistic photography, and be mesmerized as he shares insights about his current project, “Circus.”
What first drew you to artistic photography, and how you developed your skills and style over time?
One of the things that attracted me the most was the fact that there are different techniques within the same genre that allow for the creation of photographs using props, costumes, and people to convey a feeling or tell a story. I started by taking pictures of objects and landscapes, then eventually progressed to photographing myself. Eventually, I made the decision to photograph other people. Through my experience with artistic photography, I have learned a lot, both from my mistakes and from the challenges and rewards of this exciting path. One of the great things about photography is that it allows you to keep memories of moments and situations over time, observe your own evolution, and appreciate it on a daily basis.
How do you approach the process of creating a photograph, from concept to execution? What do you find most exciting or rewarding about this process?
In the beginning, all of my photographs start with an idea in my head. I usually brainstorm and jot down notes about that idea, and try to find words that capture what I want to represent. Once I have a list of descriptive words, I try to string them together into a cohesive story with a common theme. Then, I search for objects that can help me bring that idea to life and create a scenario around it. After that, I draw sketches to further refine the story, including details such as the location of the photos, the costumes, and the props. I enjoy the entire process of creating a photograph, but my favorite part is sitting in front of the computer and editing the photos with instrumental music playing in the background and a bit of incense to set the mood.
What themes or subjects do you most enjoy exploring in your work, and what do you hope to convey through your compositions?
I try to approach photography from a place of introspection. While I enjoy tackling social issues, I often use photography as a way to express and explore my own feelings. For me, it serves as a therapeutic outlet for healing wounds from the past. Photography has been a constant presence in both my best and worst moments. My main goal is to communicate my emotions through my images. Even though viewers often feel a strong connection to my photography and can identify with it, it is a special connection because it is not something that is forced or contrived.
Could you share more about any notable projects or exhibitions you have participated in?
I have had the opportunity to have my photographs exhibited in galleries and spaces both nationally and internationally. I have also been interviewed about my work. My pictures have been featured in various media outlets such as El País, Cultura Inquieta, HUF Magazine, Photofocus, Allaboutphoto, Neo2 Magazine, DNG Photo Magazine, Photoshop, among others.
What are your artistic influences or sources of inspiration?
I try to draw inspiration from art in general and find inspiration in various forms such as music, painting, and photography. In fact, when I have an idea, I often find it helpful to listen to music as I brainstorm and write about it in order to get into a creative flow and bring the idea to life.
How do you feel your photomontages differ from traditional photography? What do you think they offer that other mediums do not?
Because my photography is highly personal, it is already unique and special. Additionally, my style has been influenced by various forms of art, such as painting. While anyone can come up with an idea, the real challenge is in bringing it to fruition and developing it. I believe that my photography does not follow any set pattern, which may be why it stands out from more conventional photography. I am not limited by traditional approaches when it comes to editing and creating a photomontage. If I have an idea, I see it through to completion. I am a demanding and serious person when it comes to my work. If I am not satisfied with the result, I start over. I believe that true learning comes from pushing oneself and that this is the only way to stand out or create something that truly helps you improve and feel satisfied with your work. It is not harmful to challenge yourself on a daily basis.
Could you tell us more about your ongoing project, “Circus”? What inspired you to create this series?
“Circus” was born out of my childhood fears and phobia of clowns. I had the idea to create a life-size, traveling circus and recreate the entire vintage circus scene complete with clowns. This is certainly one of the most expensive projects I have undertaken, not only in terms of financial investment but also because I have a team of people helping me with the assembly of the set and costumes. This is a very elaborate project that has turned into a real challenge for me. However, I am reminded once again that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. The project will be displayed in an art gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Our intention is to exhibit a portion of the set alongside the photographic works. We are still working hard, but we hope to be able to present the project in 2023.
How do you feel the “Circus” project differs from your previous work, and what do you hope to convey through this series?
What sets this project apart from the rest is the level of investment, the number of hours put into it, the assembly of the set, and the costumes. I hope that the spectators will feel as though they are really at a circus when they see the final result. Without a doubt, creating that sense of immersion will be the biggest challenge. We are also working on creating a soundtrack for the project to help set the scene and enhance the overall experience.
You mentioned that you built the set and costumes for this project. Could you speak to the process of creating these elements and how they contribute to the overall aesthetic and message of the series?
In this project, I believe that the decorations are essential. It has been challenging to build the set and create the costumes from scratch, but we have succeeded in doing so and know that we can continue to do so effectively. I drew up the designs for the costumes and then created patterns to use as a guide for cutting and sewing the fabric. Once the costumes were finished, I used a solution of coffee dissolved in water to give them an aged, decadent appearance, as if they belonged to an abandoned or very old circus. For the decorations, we used wood, fabric, and paint to build everything. It wasn’t too difficult if you know how to use DIY tools and have clear ideas in mind. The biggest expense has been the time invested in the project, but we have made significant progress so far. I hope to be able to complete the project in the next few months so that people can visit and purchase my works.
How do you approach the process of capturing the real traveling circus in your photographs? Do you have a specific vision or concept in mind, or do you allow the scenes and subjects to unfold organically?
I am still not entirely sure about the aesthetics that I want to achieve. However, my initial plan is to set up a part of the circus and take several photos from different angles and at different times of day in order to use those images as reference points. We still need to finalize the lighting aspect of the project, as I am now tackling the challenge of taking night photographs. To achieve this, we will be lighting up the circus at night so that we can both shoot a video and take photographs. This project is presenting a great challenge for me and I am very excited about it.
What advice would you give aspiring photographers looking to develop their skills and careers, particularly in artistic photography?
It’s simple: don’t set limits for yourself. If you have an idea that you want to bring to life, go for it and don’t let anyone hold you back. Find the right light, gather the necessary materials and seek out any necessary help, and then turn on the camera and start shooting. The time to act is now.