Gallery Talk with Oscar Calleja

How did you get into photography?

As a kid, I was hugely influenced by my parents, both artists and entrepreneurs. I experimented with several art forms until one day, while filming a bee for a school project, I captured a moment with a little depth of field that reminded me of National Geographic pictures. The moment sparked something in me, and I bought a camera to pursue this newfound interest. I was fourteen then and twenty-nine now, so photography has been a major constant in my life.

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me, with nature in particular providing tranquility and clarity of mind essential for my creativity. However, inspiration can strike anywhere – while strolling through the city, talking with friends, or even grocery shopping. Especially grocery shopping. Throughout my career, cinema has been a major influence, shaping the way I treat my images post-shoot.

Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process often begins with a random idea that strikes me while doing something unrelated to work. I immediately jot it down and proceed to brainstorm ways to develop it into something tangible. This involves doing research, searching for references, considering possible props, and visualizing each picture in the series. Once everything is planned, I gather all necessary elements and people, and then I shoot.

How has your style evolved over time?

My photographic journey started with landscapes and wildlife, then shifted to urban photography, models, fashion, and now still life. Despite these changes, my intention has always been to evoke a feeling in the viewer. This goal has provided a constant thread through my work, which has always carried a certain darkness, even if my early efforts were rough and unpolished.

How does your personal photography influence your commercial work, and vice versa?

I strive not to distinguish between personal and commercial work – it’s all my work. If a client project deviates significantly from my personal style, I don’t consider it truly mine; it’s simply something made through me.