Saturday, 9 June 2012

Supay Fotos: Disseminating culture collectively

Centrepoint Collective has given us a platform from where we have been able to promote our own personal projects whilst building relationships and links with people within the photographic field. As part of the work that we undertake, online and in the physical form, we believe that it is important to share the way other photo collectives operate. 

On this occasion we present the first of a series of features based on the way three collectives with their origins in Peru, Spain and the UK achieve their goals. The selected collectives work both nationally and internationally. Each group explains their aims either working under non curatorial restrictions, disseminating their work as their main interest or promoting photographers and at the same time implementing activities outside the collective boundaries.

We hope you enjoy it and thanks for following us.

Supay Fotos is a photography collective based in Lima comprised of six Peruvian photographers committed to documentary photography. Their aim is to show the stories and characters that charm them, that create their own worlds, people who follow their dreams and build them according to their own ways and manners. 

Their work has won numerous international photography prizes including the National Geographic Photography All Roads Prize 2011. They have been exhibited around the world and published in New Yorker, Time, Gatopardo, El Mundo, Geo France and Le Monde. 

Supay Fotos has been invited by VAMOS! Festival 2012 to showcase their work at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle upon Tyne. The exhibition preview is on Tuesday 12th June, 6.30 pm followed by a Peruvian feast brought to us by David Kennedy’s Food Social. The exhibition runs from 10th June to 8th July, free entry.

Here, we present a short interview with Supay Fotos, we hope you enjoy it!

Centrepoint Collective. Where did the name of the group emerge?

Supay Fotos. Supay is a Quechua word dating from pre-Inca times, they used it to call certain gods or spirits. It was also the name of a divinity that was the intermediary to the "world below". But with the Spanish conquest, as Supay was a divinity other than the Catholic God, it happened to be called "Diablo". We use this word because its meaning comes from of a mixture of cultures in constant transformation.

How long and why the group formed?   

We formed the group five years ago because we wanted to create a platform for the dissemination of our work and also because we are a group of friends with photographic ideas and motivations in common. We also see it as a tool for research, interpretation and dissemination of our culture.

While in some photo collectives the number of members is restricted to just a few, in others its constantly expanding, have you got any settled rules or agreements in terms of participating members?

There are no rules, but two important issues are that all members have a friendship between them and have produced a number of photographic series.

Are all the members all based in the same country? If not, is it an issue?

We are all based in the same country. We all live in Lima, Peru.

What are the aims and objectives of the group?

We do not have a particular goal. We just want to keep producing pictures that we like and disseminate our work.

Do you think that the group functions as a platform to promote each member's photographic practice?

There are two things: it promotes the work of each member and also the name of the group and the work produced collectively.

What kind of collective are you: the agency type with a strong interest to approach potential clients or a collective with more curatorial and exhibition interests?

What we enjoy doing is to have exhibitions of our most personal projects. But we also do agency type work like editorial photography such as photojournalism or photography with archival database purposes to maintain and fund our daily running costs and exhibition projects or publications.

How are you organized to undertake activities such as working on a theme, setting up exhibitions, lectures and workshops? How do you work as a collective?

We divide all the responsibilities and tasks according to the activity. We rotate the tasks such as shooting, editing, disseminating, producing and coordinating workshops or exhibitions, etc etc. These tasks alongside the most important decisions are discussed at meetings between the six members of the group.

Do you Invite external collaboration for the realization of your projects?

Yes, depending on the activity. We work with partners such as editors, designers, programmers and multimedia producers.

Has working collectively made it easier to approach institutions or organizations - private and public - that support photographic projects?

Yes, the fact that we are 6 photographers makes it easier to get more coverage of the members' work. It gives us support and increases our photographic production it also enables us to cover much larger areas compared to what a photographer would be able to cover individually.

What projects are you currently working on?

We prefer not to say until they are ready.

Each member’s body of work is different, how do you establish connections between each of them?

We believe that the connection has been set previously; at the time we got together as a collective because we had things in common. Those things - related to photography as a tool of research and interpretation of our culture - are elements that establish the connections between works that often explore very different matters of interest.

To view Supay Fotos' work click here.

All images © Supay Fotos