At the age of 16, Mallorcan born but currently Los Angeles based, Mariona Vilarós took her first ever photography classes and quickly developed a passion for all aspects of it. Until today she is fascinated by the power an image can have to evoke emotions in people. We had a chat with the talented artist about her inspirations, trying to capture realness and the reason for her recent relocation to LA.
What were your very first points of contact with photography?
When I was 16 I left my hometown to study in the U.S for one year. My dad was an amateur photographer and handed me his Canon AE1 before the trip. That year in high school I took my first ever photography class and I quickly developed a crush, not only on film cameras, but on all aspects of photography. The time I spent in the darkroom was transformative and photography soon became a passion.
And what is it that fascinates you the most about photography?
I love how diverse photography is and how it can be utilized in a myriad of ways depending on the person and their approach to photography. But what probably fascinates me the most is the power images have to arouse different emotions in people, especially when it is an abstract element like light or colour that is the trigger.
You are from Mallorca but you live between LA and London and you just recently moved to LA, right? Were those places a deliberate choice, f.e. for work reasons?
Correct. I am from Mallorca and I originally moved to Madrid when I was 18 to go to college. I graduated with a degree in advertising & P.R. and then worked as an art director for a few years there. My jump to London came out of the desire to change careers and move into photography professionally. This city seemed like a good place to further my studies and start again. I have lived in London for over 10 years and I owe a multitude of things to this city: the best friends, a new career, and the most wonderful cultural awakening. More recently, I decided to relocate to Los Angeles, a decision driven out of love and as an opportunity to give my work a new spin.
“What probably fascinates me the most is the power images have to arouse different emotions in people, especially when it is an abstract element like light or colour that is the trigger.”
Where do you feel most home and happy? And where do you feel most inspired?
Surrounded by friends and loved ones, wherever that is. After having moved around so much and having built friendships and community in different places, the idea of home has eventually taken on a whole new meaning for me. Mallorca will always be where I am from, my native land, but after all these years home is a now a relative term to me.
I feel most inspired when I travel and discover new places, melding with other cultures, peoples, opinions, and landscapes.
Light and colour play an important part in your other work. What other things do you find important in order to get a great image?
Realness. I am not very interested in building a crazy set or scene. I love seeing this in other people‘s work, but for me, the best image comes out when I just go with my gut and photograph the world in a natural way.
What makes a good model in your eyes?
Confidence and uniqueness. I can tell when a model feels good under their skin and embraces their own individuality. And I love that.
Your role models in photography?
Women photographers who have thrived in a male dominated industry and are still out there kicking ass and producing wonderful work.
Your dream client/ shootings would be?
My dream client is one who can see beyond what I’ve already photographed and assign me new unseen work. The one who takes risks, trusts, and is excited to create something new with me.
“Realness is important to me for my work. The best image comes out when I just go with my gut and photograph the world in a natural way.”
If you had to choose:
A walk through the city or a walk on the beach?
The city to inspire me, the beach to unwind. It’s funny you ask that, because when I was in London, it was always the city that drove me. I was often wandering around and staring at ground, looking at the ways the city reflects itself through its corners, shapes, and materials. Now that I’m in Los Angeles, I’m particularly drawn to the sky and nature.
An evening alone reading a book or a night out with friends?
Both! A perfect world is half and half for me. However, after a year of doing a lot of “an evening alone reading a book”, I am dying for more time out with friends.
Sunrise or sunset?
One of your favourite quotes to live by…
Ginsberg‘s famous quote: “Without even intending it, there is that little shiver of a moment in time preserved in the crystal cabinet of the mind. A little shiver of internal space. That’s what I was looking for.”
But also “Go big or go home” – also a classic.