José David Valiente’s graphic flash-lit images render his native Spain in an uncanny light. Drawn to the peculiar and mysterious, his projects steer towards the oddities of everyday human behaviour.
From documenting the surreal atmosphere and prized pigs of the Semana Porcina – an annual food-farming fair held in his hometown, Lorca – to capturing the dark energy of the underground punk scene, the 31-year-old’s offbeat vision sheds light on diverse aspects of Spanish society.
Before studying photography in Murcia, Valiente became well-versed in the technical and commercial skills of cinema, photography and lighting through a BA in audiovisual studies. “The most important thing that I learnt there was to perceive emotions through the use of colours and lighting,” he explains.
With a strong flash and chromatic rhythm created from image to image, the photographer’s distinct aesthetic transfigures his surroundings into mysterious fragments from an indefinite narrative. The power of Valiente’s enigmatic images is that they work as well individually as in a series.
“When I begin to work on a new project, I focus on the aesthetics as a whole in relation to what I want to say,” he explains. “I’m interested in images that are powerful on their own; I use them as ‘seeds’ from which other images come to be.”
This fluid process of working makes for uncontained, dreamlike image-sequences, such as his latest project, Insomnia. Forced to move back to Lorca, a small village in southern Spain as a result of the economic crisis, Valiente charted restless nocturnal wanders, rife with the uncertainty and anxiety of accepting a situation beyond one’s control.
“I felt very strange at this phase of my life and I guess all of these feelings and thoughts changed the way I see everything around me,” he explains. An eerie topography, stark and empty apart from the faceless statues and illuminated gazes of Valiente’s furry companions, Insomnia takes us on the photographer’s solitary journey into the unsettling folds of the night.
In addition to his introspective solo work, Valiente has also collaborated with photographer Sole Satana on the projects Mugre and Fiambre [previously featured on bjp-online]. “She adds to our work a cool, satirical ‘ugly-worshipping’ point of view that complements mine,” he says. “We make a good team and everything flows.”
Read more about Fiambre by JD Valiant and Sole Satana [formerly Sole Gonzalez] https://www.1854.photography/2017/06/fiambre-by-jd-valiente-and-sole-gonzalez/