For our inaugural interview we have Joshua Muñoz, a 24-year-old photographer from San Antonio, Texas. Joshua hails from the digital age and was introduced to photography in a way that may be unexpected, but is likely becoming more and more common. He produces stunning, high-contrast images featuring bold lighting. Without further ado, Joshua Muñoz:
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got where you are today.
Well, my name is Joshua and I’m an artist currently creating out of San Antonio, Texas. I started taking photos with my iPhone 4 after my friend showed me the Snapseed app. That happened at just about the same time Instagram and the Mobile Photography movement was picking up speed. So when I began to see the actual capability of iPhone cameras I decided to jump in and give it my best shot. After some time I began to feel the limitations of my phone and wanted to take more advanced photos so I bought a DSLR and I’ve been shooting ever since.
Do you remember the moment when you know photography was going to be your thing?
It wasn’t so much a moment but something that became more and more apparent with time. I started noticing that photography is a great outlet for people with a wandering mind. People who see things others don’t. People who can take what they see, rework and reconstruct our world in a way that is entirely unique. I felt like I belonged to a community and my mind was cherished therefore giving me encouragement to keep operating in my own creative, impulsive, off beat way.
How would your describe your style, and how did you cultivate it?
While I tend to always remain versatile and experimental with what I photograph, I try to maintain my core elements that I consider to be defining of my style. I like my photos to be heavily contrasted, sharp and dramatic. I take a lot of inspiration from cinema, whether it be from tone, composition, depth of field or angles. And of course, music has a large impact on my work. It’s fascinating how a song can flow through you to your photo when shooting or editing. Having a soundtrack to my outings is absolutely essential.
You said music influences your work, so what’s a song that you’re hooked on right now, or one that’s been really meaningful to you?
Right now I’ve been hooked on Tame Impala while out shooting. Particularly “Alter Ego” off their album “InnerSpeaker”. It has an intense drive to it and I always drown in the huge sound that song has. [Listen to Tame Impala below]
What do you want people to take away from your photographs; what feelings do you try to evoke?
If someone can see what I saw and say “that looks awesome” then I’ve touched someone on the most basic level possible a photographer can. But to make someone feel? That’s something special. That happens less often but is always rewarding when it does.
What does a typical photo outing with you look like, and do you prefer to shoot alone or in a group?
Typically I tend to operate either by myself or maybe with 1 or 2 other people. I like to socially disconnect and play music while I shoot. It’s just what I do. I’m still quite sociable when shooting in groups though, since I enjoy taking portraits. While I’m shooting Street Photography it can be particularly hard for me to keep up with people because I have very little sense of direction. I go with the flow and can sometimes stay in one spot for minutes waiting for the right moment to come.
Which single photo or photo project stretched your skills the most, and how did you learn from it?
I once had the opportunity to shoot neighborhoods and their respective communities in Austin for Airbnb and it was extremely challenging. The time frame was short, I had strict guidelines and expectations to adhere to and the footwork involved in gathering all the images was grueling on it’s own. But I learned more about what it’s like to be submitting photography in a more demanding, work like fashion and it taught me about holding myself responsible for getting things done. The assignment threw me way out of my comfort zone but being able to see so much and meet new people was a privilege.
What draws you to night photography?
Light. Since the beginning of our world we’ve had natural light from the Sun but we haven’t always had artificial light. Today I like to think of artificial light as civilization’s way of harnessing that power and using it to see light in the absence of the Sun. Today we use it in all sorts of ways to contribute to nightlife, and bring a new perspective and ambiance to our environment that just doesn’t exist during the day. A new world comes alive.