Growing up making skateboard videos with his friends, Spanish photographer Victor Llorente says he spent a lot of time on the street. "I always had a camera on me and over time my love for photography just kept growing.” It’s a love that grew so much that Victor left his hometown of Madrid and moved to New York in 2015 to pursue a BFA in Photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Still based in New York, he has since photographed American icons and politicians such as Hilary Clinton and Oprah. “My camera always gets me into situations I would have never imagined,” explains Victor. This is evident in his work which, along with some surreal staged shots, is full of striking candid moments that demonstrate his knack for being in the right place at the right time. One such occasion saw Victor gain entry into the North Texas State Fair for his series The Lonely Star, where he captured all the characters and chaos you would imagine seeing at such an event: “It was conceived from the start as a photo trip and ended up as my first book.” The same is true of his project Organized Chaos, which began as a trip with friends to China and ended up as a full photographic series and publication.
From “family, memes and dogs to childhood dreams and movies,” Victor looks to a range of sources for inspiration. His Texas project stemmed from a single image of a cowboy on a trampoline he found in the series Big boys will be cowboys by Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjörk. Other photobooks he lists as his favourites are Vanitas by Cristobal Hara and No Title Here by Jeff Mermelstein. It is clear to see the influence of these reference points on Victor’s work, which share many similarities in style, subject matter and humour.
Speaking on what he looks for in his photographs, Victor says “there’s usually something going on that will make me look twice and keep my finger on the shutter.” Once in post-production, however, he looks more for a visual narrative that runs through certain photographs, linking them together, and focuses less on which shots are strongest individually. His process and approach is simple and modest, much like his no-nonsense set up when shooting: “I don’t really care about gear too much,” he says. “I just need a camera – film or digital – with good autofocus and one (or two) off-camera flashes.”
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