Colombian-born, Spanish-based photographer Manuel Vazquez was an economics student before he decided to make his living from image-making. A quick transfer to Spain, some courses at New York’s School of Visual Arts and a Masters in Photography and Urban Cultures at Golsmiths later and he’s quite the photographic talent. The economy’s loss is photography’s gain. Now he shoots regularly for the likes of The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and The British Journal of Photography predominantly taking slick portraits.
In his personal work however he’s developed a deep interest in chiaroscuro, and the compositions that can be created through its manipulation. In Traces in particular he plays fast and loose with patterned pools of light, illuminating passers-by with theatrical effect. The results are otherworldly in atmosphere; the staring faces of strangers peering out of the darkness as though trapped underground for years, taking their first fleeting glances into the world above.