Exploring the beauty in post-production with photographer Matias Alfonzo
A keen eye for careful post-production gently elevates his images into the realm of the surreal, and sets his fashion photography apart from the rest.
- Joey Levenson
- 4 October 2021
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
“It can be limiting to consider yourself a photographer and only a photographer,” says Matias Alfonzo. Originally from Buenos Aires, Matias is now a Berlin resident. He titles himself as a “photographer” but only cautiously – “right now I’m wearing the photographer’s hat, but it’s in my nature to jump a little bit around the spectrum.”
Matias’ journey to photography first started as a teenager in the 2000s, when they were “taking the digital pocket cameras to school and meeting with friends to take pictures,” he recalls. “I still have many hidden Facebook albums from those days.” But what makes Matias’ photography so distinct is its entire mise-en-scène: how every detail of the frame comes together to make something deeply enriching and visually stimulating, even if at first glance it appears simple. “What first excited me about fashion photography in particular is that you get given a blank canvas that you need to fill in with your own world, your own characters, pick the colours you want on the shoot, the pose, the light and so on,” he explains. “One of the best parts of my job is that you get to work with a team, everyone working together to make the final image the best one.”
Matias is also incredibly cohesive, making a flick through his portfolio an unquestionably satisfying experience. “I am very conscious about it and try to create a cohesive body of work,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I would say my visual language is mainly linked to colour.” In discovering his own creative direction, Matias found that he was drawn to images “completely different from each other” but with the same touches of green or red, for example. “In this sense, I look a lot at Degas for inspiration, who had their own colour scheme and used the same shades throughout their work.” The colour matching in Matias’ work displays this, with every model, garment, hair piece and accessory possessing a surreal dream-like intimacy that elevates them into bonafide art.
Although a talented photographer, it’s also Matias’ knack for post-production which brings him to this elevated realm. Of course, post-production isn’t for everyone, but of late it’s having its renaissance moment. “I’m a big fan of post-production, as it’s where I grade the image towards my personal style,” Matias says. “The thing with post-production is that it really gives you the tools and the power to re-imagine the picture, which is quite interesting to me.”
Whilst Matias is steadfast in their commitment to making the best possible image from the camera, he explains how there are often moments when the image calls for something different. “It’s like the image asks me to change, delete or add something,” he says. “I love it, because it’s always fun to see how it looks.” Whilst Matias certainly uses post-production to create beautiful effects on his images (loosely engaging with the amalgamation of contemporary and nostalgic aesthetics), he never interferes with the human image. “I respect the bodies as they are and would never ever alter that.”
As for inspiration, Matias looks to his extensive background in martial arts for movement direction, which explains a lot of his models’ creative use of shape and action. “In addition, Balthus is someone I go back to all the time, his compositions are very inspiring to me, such as the intimacy of his paintings,” he says. On top of that, he lists Hockney, Argentinian music, poetry and his philosopher brother as guides who help him to create strong visual concepts which mean something. “Berlin is a big inspiration as well, as this city never ceases to surprise me,” Matias adds. “The people, the vibe, the clubbing culture, my friends and the amazing creatives I’ve met here.”
Now, Matias can’t help but be excited about the future of his art. “I sometimes like to take a moment to think about how I got here and all the obstacles I had to face coming from a very working-class background,” Matias tells us. “It just gives me the push I sometimes need, as we all know freelancing is not easy.” The endlessly creative photographer is now busy ticking off his creative bucket list (“many of them are ambitious,” he says), but is mainly focused on working on a project he hopes to make into a book. “It’s a very interesting concept named Human that would be ideal to make into my first book,” he says. “So if any publisher out there is interested, please get in contact with me!”
Matias Alfonzo: Jona (Copyright © Matias Alfonzo, 2021)