How did you get started doing what you do?
Since I was a child, I’ve always been interested in arts. First it was painting and drawing and then I discovered photography when I was about 17 years old. One of my friends had an enlarger and soon I bought my own. Best investment of my life. I set up a little lab on my parent’s house and started practicing with analog photography. It’s funny, I think I learnt how to process film even before I learnt how to shoot.

Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz
Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz

How would you describe your creative style?
I think my challenge is in the details. I’m always trying to capture the subtle, glimpses of personalities and deep emotions in order to make the audience connect with far away realities and conflicts such as the disappearing ethnic groups in the Omo Valley region in Ethiopia, ethnic groups in Nepal or the post war generations in Cambodia.

All humans share the same emotions, and that’s what makes us all the same and unique in a very special way. Showing that overall honest connection is the main purpose of my work. In a way, I try to make people relate to the subject, catch glimpses of their deep emotions and personalities, show the underlying magic that deserves to be seen and usually remains unnoticeable. When we understand each other in that kind of way, cultural differences become quite insignificant.

What’s your inspiration?
I always say it was Steve McCurry’s work which inspired me in the beginning. I also love Sebastian Salgado’s work. Who wouldn’t, right?
I’d also say I’m very influenced by arts in general, cinematography and illustration.

Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz
Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz

What is art to you?
A way of expression, a fun way to share one’s perspective.

How do you keep motivated?
Feeling inspired by great artists, traveling and visiting cultures, keeping myself curious and interested.

How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I think I started photographing as a way to keep memories of my trips. I immediately felt inspired by those remote places, so little by little I found the way to portray that mesmerizing reality.

Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz
Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I feel very challenged by capturing that special moment. When you combine the right timing with human emotions, the results can be breathtaking. That’s what I admire the most from good portrait photographers: not just capturing the person’s appearance and environment, but glimpses of emotions, that spark, their essence. I really hope to achieve that some day.

How have others reacted to your work?
I never thought about sharing my work until I made the first series called SOUTHEAST. I humbly sent the pictures to a blog I used to follow and they shared them. In a few hours the article had been re-posted hundreds of times. It was great to see people were interested in what I did. That pushed me to get better and keep traveling to offer new and better work. Still working on that, haha.

Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz
Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz

What do you want others to take away from your work?
I hope they feel some connection with the subjects I portray, a humanizing experience.

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
Work hard, have confidence in yourself and follow your path.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
To do work for the hell of it, not thinking about what others would think of it.

Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz
Interview with photographer, Diego Arroyo on Jung Katz

What are your thoughts on art school?
Learn the rules so you can start breaking them some day.

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I’m working on my latest series from Japan and I just published my work from Nepal. I’d like to organize an exhibition soon, either in Europe or somewhere else. I also would like to publish a small book with my recent work.

Follow Diego Arroyo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Posted by:Casey Webb

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Jung Katz, as well as Editor for ZIIBRA.

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