Photojazz Five: Santiago Billy

Photojazz Five (n.) Five questions to and five photos from a street photographer.

Currently a photojournalism student at the Universidad Francisco, Santiago Billy (a.k.a. “Lokisb“) hones his journalistic skills by documenting the country of his birth, Guatemala. He is someone whose work is always solid and consistent, which is why I wanted to feature him here. He’s also the first street photographer to be featured from South America.

In one brief statement, define street photography.
Taking pictures of random human subjects on a public space, not necessarily a “street”. It can also be the beach or some “non urban” environment.

How would you define your artistic style (I.e. What defines your visual ‘uniqueness’)
This is a difficult question to answer since I don’t see that I have an artistic style, lately I just try that my pictures are well exposed and tell a story (hence documenting where I walk). But maybe one thing that is a must on me is trying to get colors right, I want to show colors most of the time, though on occasion I will produce some B&W work, specially if I don’t find the colors compelling and some images just demand to be in B&W.

How did you get into street photography?
Forcing myself to be able to have humans on a picture, when I first started taking pictures as a teen, I would always hate to have a human on my frame. After a while I liked finding odd people, which I still do, but a curious thing happens to me, I feel quite unable to take pictures of pretty girls on a street. I actually got my first SLR a Canon EOS 3000 when I was 15, but it was until I got my D200 when I graduated highschool (lucky me :D) that I actually took street photos.

What influences your work (can be anything)?
National Geographic has been a great influence over me, not an individual photographer but the images, specially the magazines from the late 70’s 80’s and early 90’s my parents had a big collection and I was always fond of looking into those pictures. Also another “influence” is my own mood, sometimes I try to find a subject that will convey how I actually feel at a given place and time in my life. Also another main influence is watching color, where I live everything is color related.

Who are your top 5 street togs?
James Nachtwey, Bruce Gilden, Cartier Bresson, George Rodger and Robert Cappa. (I see war photography as the most implacable of street photography). But I will always give great credit to those street photographers I’ve found and learned from on deviantArt, even if they are now fleeing the site I was there at the right time (most of them are yardies).

You can connect with Santiago Billy on Google+ and see more of his work on his Facebook page.

About Brian

Brian Q. Webb is a photography enthusiast from Los Angeles, California who spends most of his time in Taipei, Taiwan. He is especially interested in street photography as well as large format portraiture and pinhole photography. He also likes to shoot lifestyle portraiture and occasionally acts as an agent for foreign newspapers wanting event coverage in Taipei. He was also on the staff of deviantArt and is co-founder of PhotoMalaysia, the largest photography community in that country.