Monday, 1 October 2012

LimaFotoLibre: Shoot Lima!

Since December 2006, the Peruvian collective LimaFotoLibre  has produced a visual record of everyday life generating a visual archive based on chance, spontaneity and the way each member sees the world.
From the capital city, from it chaotic streets, LimaFotoLibre captures what is often overlooked and seen as inconsequential in the daily life of any citizen of Lima. Here we present an interview with them. We hope you enjoy reading through it and watching some of their videos!
Where does the collective and the name emerge from?
In Lima, more or less in 2005, Tunchi, one of the members of the collective made a very simple web page, he then hosted it on a free server and called it "LimaFotoLibre", without thinking much about the name (he used to live in Lima where he took pictures and published pretty much whatever he wanted). He created this page more than anything to have a space to publish his first scanned photos online, as at that time he had no way to post his photos on the few websites on photography that existed in Peru.
Besides the photos, he also began publishing images of friends who were interested in photography. He was among that group of friends and so at some point they decided to contact two other friends (Fokus and Carloncho) and between the four they planned their first collaboration together.
Officially the group has existed since December 23, 2006, the date on which we made our first joint action, laser printing photographs pasted on the walls of the second floor of a shopping mall. We used photographs that we all had in common, photographs taken in the street. We formed the collective as it is always much more easier to do things as a group rather than individually.
While in some groups the membership is restricted to a few, others are constantly expanding. Have you established rules or agreements regarding the number of participants?
On that point, at the moment we have restricted the number of members. So far the people who have passed through the group have been coming alone, I mean without calls or by reviewing portfolios, you could say it is something more to do with friendship and intuition. We all currently live and work in the City of Lima.
What are the aims and objectives of the group?
There are artistic and commercial objectives. These have been given over time. On the one hand we want to make a record of the everyday life of people from Lima, from our own daily life and from unplanned situations and through photographic exhibitions and interventions, observe ourselves, and therefore think, reflect on our city and its people, laugh, swear, etc.
We also want to take our photography to national and international festivals. Last year for example we had the opportunity to present an exhibition in Switzerland. We thought we could make photographic records of European cities such untimely and show them from a foreign look what others can not see or simple ignore to observe in their environment, for example we could present an exhibition entitled "A Peruvian Lost in Europe."
On the other hand, we would like to continue to working with institutions, galleries and museums on various projects, such as workshops or thematic exhibitions based on the city. Another objective is to produce publications. We currently have two books published and the next one is on its way.

Do you think that the group functions as a platform to promote each member's photographic career?
Indeed as we all learn from one another. But on the other hand, we can say that we are not only photographers, because during the day, each one of us works on different things.
What kind of Collective do you consider yourselves: the agency type one where the main interest is to approach potential clients or a more curatorial collective interested in disseminating exhibitions for instance?
Right now we are more interested in the curatorial side as a collective with our specific interest in presenting exhibitions. We have the intention to either produce projects that initiate from within the same collective, such as collaborating with external contributors like working with people or external institutions, such as curators, festivals, museums. On the other hand, we don’t consider ourselves defined, it all depends on what we generate and what opportunities come forth.
How do you get organized to present activities such as working in a thematic group, mounting exhibitions, lectures and workshops? How do you work?
As any other collective, all these issues are discussed in meetings, where it is always difficult to agree on everything. For example on the issue of workshops, we work according to what each can contribute based on their knowledge and / or time availability. Similarly with other projects, it all depends on what each one wants and with how much one can contribute.

Do you ever invite external collaborations for the realization of your projects?
So far we have only produced things between ourselves or with the support of institutions. But we do not rule out in the long run to work with musicians or with urban artists for instance.
As a collective, has it been easier to approach institutions or organizations - private and public - to obtain support for photographic projects?
Currently it has been. We are now able to prove that we have the experience from working on previous projects. But at the beginning it was very difficult because although we were constituted as a collective we were quite new and people did not know who we were or what our work was like. At the beginning absolutely everything was managed by ourselves with the unconditional support of friends. Primarily we fund our work through the realization of workshops and working with public and private institutions and also through the sale of our publications and photographs.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently we are promoting our latest edition, a photo book with 90 images called "LimaFotoLibre 2006-2011" in which you can find photos taken in the first five years of our existence as a collective. The theme is: Street Photography. 

We also presented an exhibition and public intervention of our virtual project 365 (days), taking a picture every day, with the only rule that a graphical or thematic sequence between each picture preserved continuity. An event was performed on 18th and 19th August 2012 at a park in the Centre of Lima. Likewise, on August 19th we participated in a public exhibition with the Ministry of Culture, to celebrate the international day of photography.   

We are preparing our participation in a group show scheduled to open soon in a museum in the city.
To view their work visit: LimaFotoLibre  

All images and text © Lima Foto Libre 2012