#odetored winner: Azul Pinoba
Azul Pinoba is one of the winners of the photography contest #odetored organized by the PhotoPhore in collaboration with photo l.a.
the PhotoPhore: What is your relationship with the colour “RED”? How did the theme of “ODE TO RED” contest inspire you?
Azul Pinoba: Personally, red symbolizes the most primal force within every living creature, instinct. From war to sensuality and everything in between, instinct encompasses the entire spectrum of the human experience. Instinct propels us to love, to resent, to act on our fears and to be alert.
Red, however, is not a colour that I normally engage with in my work. By entering the “ODE TO RED” contest, it encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and think more visually in terms of red, whilst staying true to my own perception of the colour.
the PhotoPhore: How did you first approach to art and creative world, and why?
Azul Pinoba: From a very early age my parents had always encouraged my sister and me to cultivate our artistic sides. I took to drawing quite well, so my mother always made sure I never lacked paper and a good set of colouring pencils. As I let my imagination speak through pencils, I gradually became drawn to the art world as a result of my passion for science, stumbling upon photography.
the PhotoPhore: Why is photography your means of expression?
Azul Pinoba: My gateway to photography was science, watching wildlife documentaries, flipping through National Geographic magazines and science textbooks, exploring the outdoors, plus an innate desire to understand the world made me yearn to observe reality at a deeper level. Unavoidably, I started to express myself via photography, the most realistic and permanent form of the visual arts. Through photography, one can observe reality for what it really is, and yet not even recognise it at all! It leaves you mesmerised by showing you the complexity of the world, instilling within you a desire to know more about it.
the PhotoPhore: What are the main themes of your work? Is your art based on a developing personal research, a specific fil rouge?
Azul Pinoba: Although I am mostly inspired by scientific discovery and exploration, my work is not strictly scientific. Instead, I use photography as a means to visually analyse the physical and natural realm in depth whilst highlighting the world’s intrinsic surrealism. I find that by focusing on these contrasts and dream-like hues, a wider and more complete view of our world is provided. As a result, a lot of my work zooms in on nature and the abstract. I also find that architecture photography contributes to these studies of the surreal and the abstract as it draws in a special focus on form and time frame. I believe these two qualities lie within the nature of this subject.
I should say that recently I’ve taken a great interest in portraits, the human form and the messages these can carry. I’m currently exploring different ideas with these themes and am excited to see where it takes me!
the PhotoPhore: Tell us about your 3 favourite photographers and how they inspire you
Azul Pinoba: Well, I was first inspired by not one, but a group of very unusual photographers… biologists and astrophysicists. Studying and admiring the beauty and the science of these two visual extremes has influenced me a greatly. From the inquisitive microscopy of intracellular structures, diatoms, and small invertebrates to the breath-taking imagery provided by the Hubble Space Telescope, Voyager’s 1 and 2, and Cassini. Not only is their work stunning in its aesthetic, but the challenges that had to be overcome in order for them to unveil such beauty is truly awe-inspiring, not to mention the impact on human society. It invites the mind’s eye to ask itself “what do I really know about my surroundings?” and look deeper.
Then, there’s Frans Lanting’s breath-taking depiction of the natural world. His photography beautifully portrays the real presence of the Earth’s wildlife. Moreover, I find that he is also able to capture angles that almost seem from another world, like his famous “Penguins in Iceberg” photograph. Its intrinsic beauty inspires as it simultaneously raises environmental awareness, something that I strongly believe in.
Finally, there’s Abelardo Morell, whose “camera obscura” photography has inspired me both aesthetically as well as my own creative thought process. His work really has encouraged me to think outside the box and ask myself with any given setup “what am I seeing, what am I not seeing and how am I seeing?”.
the PhotoPhore: Tell us about your future projects, your dreams
Azul Pinoba: In terms of future projects, I have a lot in mind, unfortunately not enough time to put them together. As of late I’ve found myself thinking a lot about identity on a personal and social level, especially the latter. So whilst I’m still working on my main thematic, this new wave of thought is definitely something I want to delve into further.We’ll see how it plays out!
Dreams, such an important and powerful word. Well, I want to finish my PhD at Cornell University and keep pursuing my scientific interests. At the same time I want to continue developing my artistic work. Personally I find that both of these worlds complement each other quite well. Scientific curiosity allows me to explore photography from an array of different angles, whilst the artistic side actually stimulates my scientific creativity. But in both cases, I want to be able to communicate something meaningful which furthers our understanding of the world.
Azul Pinoba (Azul Pinochet Barros) is a Spanish scientist and photographer currently based in Ithaca, N.Y. From a very early age, Pinoba’s fascination with nature led her to develop a deep curiosity for the inner workings of the world. Now earning her Ph.D. in Microbiology at Cornell University, her interests and pursuits towards a better understanding of nature have become a part of her daily life. As an extrapolation of her scientific mindset, Pinoba attempts to show a deeper side of our visual reality through her photography.
By creating a visual mélange of the physical and natural with contrasts and the dream-like, she tries to provide a more insightful view of the world around us. In most of her work, she tries to highlight the surreal that is ingrained in our reality, ebbing one to not take what we see for granted, to be inquisitive and to look closer. Her photographic subjects vary from a wide array of materials, to wildlife, and architecture.
Images courtesy of Azul Pinoba