Manuel Padrón's universe is centered around the image. Self-taught, he has become successful in photography and audio-visual, his main motivation being Cuba and its people.
“I come from the audio-visual world and I have always been part of this environment: cameras, television direction, fashion direction, and publicity. Nevertheless, I have always been curious to know the difference between a still photo and an image in movement.
“I believe that the audio-visual stage introduces a concept very different from that of still photo. I have worked with video and publicity, and it seems to me that photography in these environments is a bit static. Recreating the feeling of movement has been of interest to me since the beginning”, said Padrón in an interview with Cubaplus.
What were your first experiences with photography?
My first experiences were with promotion and publicity. I worked on a project with an artists´ representation agency, focused on selling the artists´ image. I worked with a group of actors and actresses; that was my first experience, how to “recreate” a person´s image.
I have also worked with social photography, photoreporting, landscape, experimental photography, though I am very interested in working with individuals. In addition, I studied symptomatology of image because I want to create an interesting message, and I especially want to communicate.
When did you start loving photography?
I was doing good commercial publicity for hotels and other institutions, nevertheless, this speciality practically disappeared in Cuba so I decided to fill the gap with photos of family celebrations, what I call social photography, which is common worldwide.
What other types of photography have you worked with?
I really like theater photography. I did an exhibition on the Mella Theater´s 50th anniversary in which I included modern dance, folklore and ballet. I also did an exhibition in the Factory of Cuban Art called Modern Times, an allusion to the Charlie Chaplin movie; it was a somewhat sociological example of what it means to be Cuban.
I am currently working on the project Ellas cantan y visten bien (They sing and dress well), which groups some of the principal feminine figures of our country from a musical point of view.
Whenever I did an exhibition I was the producer, creator and art curator, a bit bold on my part, but I did it. Exhibiting gives you the possibility of creating a concept, an idea. I have two or three other exhibitions in mind, but they are still projects.
In what plane has the audio-visual remained?
I have not gone away from creation, for me it is very important to do both photograph and audio-visual, always beginning with a visual concept. Creating a message is very important. As producer I have been lucky to work with the groups Synthesis, Van Van, NG la Banda, Anacaona and, as director and photographer I won some awards.
What is a main motivator for your work?
Cuba, its people and creating a message, both visually and in movement, that is my main passion.
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