In his novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, author Victor Hugo argued that “the edifice” —architecture itself—was one of humanity’s first forms of artistic expression. Come the invention of the camera, photography became the latest novel outlet of artistic expression. Today, Latin American artist Nluz Love marries these two artistic forms into one.
Each successive image delves deep into the subconscious without losing the anchor point of reality. Emotional and vibrant, the images are paintings created not with brushstroke but a camera’s electronic eye. Their photographer is Nluz Love.
Nluz Love by Jean Pierre Ledos
In 2004, he broke into the mainstream when he won both the Lux Gold in Architecture Interior Design and the Lux Silver and Bronze in Industrial at the National Professional Photography Awards. After publishing the Spanish magazine Arte Fotografia and having his work exhibited at the Palau Robert in Barcelona, he received an Award for Excellence by CFA Circle Foundation of the Arts, a founding of international artists in Lyon, France in 2017. Come 2020, he’s received two nominations in the Categories Architecture and People at the International Color Awards 13th.
Beyond being a great photographer, Nluz Love manages to combine the mundane and the surreal.
Good Night © Nluz Love
In one of his photos, there is an image of a woman, head back, closed eyes gazing up at the sky where a snail forms in the clouds. From her vantage point, one can see the variations of color and shading on the snail’s underbelly. The snail itself is enveloped by clouds that color a turquoise sky. One of the eyes is highlighted by a heavenly white spot, or perhaps the light is coming through its translucent eyestalk?
$1 © Nluz Love
Another photo of his is an image of a wall marred by decades of decay, revealing the hidden colors below. On the left side of the wall, halfway down, there appear to be some words coming through the flakes. Two letters, a white ‘OS,’ against a blue background that rise through the flakes like a tide and other letters just starting to appear.
Each successive image delves deep into the subconscious without losing the anchor point of reality. They are paintings created not with brushstroke, but with Nluz Love’s electronic eye. Putting words to these photos is a difficult task, yet their creator finds these words though he’s readying to take another photo.
Center for Biomolecular Studies © Nluz Love
It’s been said you have an “electronic eye.” What does that phrase mean to you?
The ability to capture and create visionary elements in photos that can only be revealed over time. Elements that reveal social, political, and natural events.
How did your journey into photography begin?
I was 13 when they opened a photography school near my house. There, I studied five years of analog photography. When I finished as early as the mid-1990s, I started working for architects, although the photography I was doing was conceptually very scarce, and my work did not satisfy me. It was in 1998 that I began to understand that I could do something else.
I lived in an apartment in the center of Madrid, in Spain, and one day, when I entered, I had left some spotlights on and formed a series of clairvoyant reflections. I photographed them day by day. Every day they would change and tell me a story. I prepared a folder with photos and went out to show it. Unfortunately, I ended up admitted to a hospital diagnosed with a schizophrenia outbreak.
Time passed, a couple of years maybe, and I started my digital photography studies. I worked for a year at a computer company that had a digital photo processing and printing department. It was there that I began my journey in photography, starting an artistic work called “The Landscape of Architecture,” where I began to become satisfied with my work.
Why photography as opposed to another medium of expression?
My interest in photography goes back to my childhood. As a youth, light produced in me a warm feeling. I realized that through photography, I make those abstract feelings concrete.
Digital Drawing © Nluz Love
Some of your photos seem to delve into the surreal with various shapes and focuses, while others are more tactile. Where does this dichotomy come from?
In my work, you can find two versions. The version made with Photoshop and direct digital capture without manipulation, unless it only improves the contrast and brightness of the photo. This is because, in my early days, I intuited that the treated photographs had a clairvoyant magic. I seek meaning and magic in the reproduction of reality, although in my previous works, I have sometimes found this magical-technological sense in digital processing.
Do you develop your own photos?
Yes. The digital format I learned to process it 20 years ago. Although the programs I use, like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, have evolved, I haven’t lost the thread and continue to work with them. As an observation, I want to tell you that I have been a professor of digital photography treatment for quite a few years.
The light bulb has an elf © Nluz Love
Does photography rely more on instinct or investigation?
My photography is purely intuitive. It is the first pillar of my work, but without further research into the development of my own work and relating this with previous work would not be possible.
In fact, I call my photographs “Reflections of Time” as I publish them alongside articles from The New York Times. They reveal the mystery of each article and confirm the veracity of this set of works through color consistency. In 2005, I obtained a license from Gretag Macbeth to generate color coherence, and this has become obsessed so far that coherence flows photo after photo naturally.
How does your mood and headspace contribute to your work?
The moment I’m going to photograph, I feel a huge emotion, a feeling of intuition that a surprising new job will be produced soon. This burst emotion only recedes once I have finished the photographic work and found the surprise that I initially sensed.
Visionary Light reflections © Nluz Love
One of your photos seems to be four separate ones. What spurred this decision?
That photograph was the beginning of a great adventure in England. It’s a reflection of light that’s changing shape and expressing what my super job is going to be.
In the first image, we can see that the light looks like a ship. In the second image, the ship has been transformed into a camera. The third image is a phone, and the last one is a hamburger, my prize after the job was completed
In this case, there is no manipulation of the photographs. I wanted to show them together so that their meaning could be better understood.
Should your work be viewed as a whole or in parts?
As a whole, I have explored various techniques through which I have achieved relatively different aesthetics, but conceptually my work is an evolving narrative.
What, besides photography, connects to you emotionally?
Music. I listen to a lot of PWR UP by AC/DC, although I also like to listen to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Yes, Rush, and Dream Theater. They’re all very visual.
What are three things you must have with you to photograph?
The camera, memory card, and electronic eye. I hope I don’t lose him!
Alive! © Nluz Love
What advice do you have for any up-and-coming photographers?
Let them follow their own emotions until they can transform their intuition into concrete ideas. This is an intimate and particular feeling of each photographer who must expand through more general plots. Photographic production has now been simplified. Let them turn up their sensibility and shoot courageously.
What photo are you most proud of and why?
The picture Alive! This photo is part of my first work, and I won the Lux Oro award in the architecture category in 2004 in Barcelona, Spain.