A World That Others Can't See... with Unai Mateo


Our role as photographers is to capture a world that others can't see, and in this process we leave a little bit of us in every photo that we take. In a way, every single one of our photographs is also a portrait of ourselves.

In this series, A World That Others Can't See, I ask fellow photographers to talk about an image from their portfolios in order to discover the stories behind their work and to learn about the person behind the lens.

For the sixth post of the series, Unai Mateo talks about his work where he intends to reflect an honest depiction of his reality. Unai’s work is a fusion between documentary photography and introspective fine art.

Unai says: "I chose these 3 images because I believe they describe quite well my approach to photography. I do something I call ‘introspective documentary’, where I try to depict my own personal way of seeing the world through mundane scenes that I come across. These images could mean nothing or they could mean everything, that’s up to the viewer to decide. I create them as recipients of feelings and emotions. An atmosphere capable of taking in a diverse variety of ways of understanding the environment surrounding us.

The series is untitled because I can’t ever decide to name my images. Instead, I usually call them notes on something, because they are precisely notes and observations rather than statements. In this matter, I stand with the trend set by the abstract expressionists back in the 50’s.

In my work, I just observe, feel, and shoot. I intend to really reflect an honest depiction of my reality. It is not always successful but the only reason I work this way is because I feel conflicted when I go beyond my limits and act pretentiously. I never want to cross that line so I try not to set unrealistic limitations beforehand. The result is generally a quite abstract concept but it is meant to be that way.

I mostly use my 35mm Canon F1 camera loaded with a fresh Kodak Ultramax 400 film roll. It’s versatile and I carry it pretty much everywhere so I can snap an image when I feel like doing it. For these 3 shots I believe I used a 50mm f1.4 lens set to its wider aperture.

Some images of this series (including these particular ones) were used in a feature in the Spanish contemporary photography magazine EXIT. Other than that, I intend to create a small publication with a collection of these photos in the near future, as well as feature them in an exhibition.”

Thank you so much, Unai, for taking the time to show me your outstanding work! You can see more of Unai's introspective photography on www.unaimateo.com.

If you haven't read the previous posts of this series, you can check the whole series here. I hope you liked this new post and stay tuned for a different photographer each month!

Photo credit: self-portrait by Unai Mateo.

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