Review Me: Bryan Lara: Intense Yearning
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Monday, July 19, 2021

Bryan Lara: Intense Yearning

Bryan, thank you for accepting our invitation to talk so that our readers can become more familiar with your artistic career and valuable art. Now, tell us about your artistic background story and if there was a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as a visual artist?

I’m still relatively new to the art world. I’ve been a professional artist for a year now and only first picked up a camera 2 and a half years ago. Even so, I knew right away that I wanted to pursue photography as an art. It started as an impulsive obsession and then became an entryway to learning how to appreciate art. I was in the military prior to this and was studying math and engineering at the time. It was a different world and I was only able to view the world logically, so back then I never cared for art. What opened my eyes was the joy that I had felt upon each shutter release. It was a feeling that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. I spent every free hour I had just been going out and photographing anything. Of course, I took a multitude of bad photos, but there weren’t any words to describe the euphoria I felt upon capturing a good one. I’ve been self-taught ever since.

Once the camera aperture is opened, and the image in front is captured, the unforgettable pleasure that spreads through the photographer's soul spells him/her not to put the camera down at all. Was there ever a moment of doubt to question your art career entirely?

I sometimes question if I am creating at the highest quality I can, but I never question my choice to be an artist. My biggest doubts come from my own effort, as I often feel I could be doing more to push my photos to greater heights. If anything, those are the main components for me to keep creating my art: my ambition to improve and make something meaningful. I’ve even started teaching myself other art mediums in hopes that it will help me improve in my photography. And while I do believe in that inner drive to improve myself, I sometimes wish I would take more time to enjoy my art at the moment.

Great. You try to learn flexibly and creatively and work through the challenges in order to produce professional outcomes for yourself and the viewers. What is your daily routine when working in your studio?

As someone with ADHD, having a routine does greatly benefit me. However, when I’m feeling a creative impulse, I allow myself some freedom to create without restrictions. This gives me an idea about my day, but not a set schedule, which I’ve found works best for me.

Now, take us through your process of making your artworks.

Spontaneity, would be the best way I could describe my photographic process. Coming up with the idea, finding props and talent, and the actual shoot itself, they all have a relatively high level of spontaneity and impulse. I usually know what to photograph whenever I feel an odd “tick” inside of me. When I’m out taking street photos, I feel this “tick” often when coming across genuine moments and expressions. There’s no better way to explain the sensation other than saying it’s as quick as a small electrical shock, or even the tick of a clock on the skin. It feels like being hit with a revelation: a realization matched with a spark of excitement and wonder. It’s the same way I find inspiration for my concepts. I typically go about my day, and when I come across something that activates that quick sensation, I start to fixate on it. Then comes lots of research on whatever it is that caught my attention and narrowing down my ideas about how I'd like to photograph it. I’ve always been drawn to anything that causes fervent emotions. That’s why I shoot on film. The tactile sensation, as well as the distinct colors and grain, only add to the intensity I am attempting to channel and convey.

Good job! I like this interesting statement in photography: Photographers not only shoot what it looks like but what it feels like. Is there a central concept connecting all your works together or each series or artwork is unique?

Most of my photos are a part of their own larger series. I tend to pick a topic, an ideology, or an interesting detail to focus my photos around. The portraits of my parents are a part of a photography book I’m currently working on, and the street photos shown were meant to document how individuals reacted during the pandemic. It’s part of the reason I intend to release my photos in groups.

Bryan, most of your artworks are untitled. Would you like to give a particular interpretation of your work to your viewers or you prefer to leave the whole interpretation to your audience?

I prefer not to give any background to my photos. As with any form of creation, once it’s out to the public you cannot control how it is perceived. It is the main reason why I prefer not to title my photos, but rather display them in series. Most of my photos do have a story to tell, or an emotion to convey, but the way people interpret these things is different for everyone. One person can view a piece positively, and another person can view it negatively. The most important part to me is that it causes an emotional reaction within them. Let’s talk about that beautiful moment when inspiration strikes. How do you seek and use inspiration for your works?

Intense emotions are what drive me to photograph. I believe life should be lived passionately, and full of immense drive. That’s why I search for people that live their lives with intensity and defining focus. It’s a bonus whenever I can personally relate to their emotions. A specific example I have in mind was recently coming across Mary Ellen Mark’s photobook “Tiny Streetwise Revisited”. These photos were difficult to go through. It felt like I was boiling water in a closed glass container. When I saw Tiny and her kids in those photos, all I could see was my mother and her 3 children. Those photos hurt to go through. They forced me to reminisce about my own poor upbringing, and its strong emotions such as those that push me to be an artist. That’s where my main inspirations lie in regards to my photography.

Wherever ideas come from, they oftentimes uncannily come to our minds at the oddest moments, I think. How do you select your artworks subjects?

Because I’m still in the early stages of my career, I tend to photograph of anyone willing to put up with the amount of work that goes into my photos. I would love the financial freedom to seek individuals that perfectly fit the vision in my mind. For now, I do my best to work with the resources I have. When it comes to my documentary work, though, I choose anyone with a story to tell. My favorite shoots tend to be with people that aren’t afraid to be personal about their experiences. The photos that spawn from those shoots tend to feel the most authentic to them, and I love that. I often walk away with a part of them from these shoots. For example, I will always remember when I asked my friend's father what his favorite memory of his kids was. The look he gave me when he couldn’t think of one, and could only say he regrets having to work so much and not spending more time with them.

It’s important to not only find the subject you love to shoot but also find a creative one and a new approach that will make your work stand out. Is there an artwork or series that you would like to be remembered for?

My personal goal is just to be remembered for taking amazing photos. But if I had to choose something in particular, for now, it would have to be the photographs of my stepfather. It's no exaggeration when I say I want to tear up whenever I stop to take a clear look at those photos. I know that I have a more personal attachment to the portraits than anyone else, regardless I feel like there’s something more in his expressions than just my personal attachment.

I always think a photographer is like a silent observer that observes something others don’t see. Ok, Bryan, your fans are waiting for your future artistic photos. Any upcoming works or future projects that you would like to share with our readers?

As I previously mentioned, I am currently working on a photography book that takes a personal look at people that decided to chase the American Dream. Think about that concept for a second. Think about having to leave everything behind to an uncertain future. It’s sure to be a journey full of many intense emotions. Joy, excitement, and anxiety are only some examples of the many emotional experiences that immigrants encounter. These experiences can be relatable to anyone, and I hope to portray that.

I hope you look forward to it and feel free to visit my website: for more info, or if you would like to support the project in any way. Are there any artists from the past era who have been able to make a deep impact on you? What are your art influences?

Hopefully, it is quite noticeable that I really like the style of Rembrandt and Caravaggio. While I’m not fond of some of their works, I find their style of lighting their subjects to be very exciting. I also love the works of Eugene Smith. Eugene Smith was a photography genius that was unmatched in his skill as a photographer. His work ethic and obsession to produce great photos are very inspirational to me, as well as a huge driving force in how I wish to be perceived as a photographer. With that said, I do try to style my street photography after the compositions of Edward Hopper. For inspiration, I look at people that are masters of their craft, as that is my own goal with photography. I would like to branch out though, and look at modern-day photographers who are pushing boundaries in their own way. Photographers such as Franz Sony and Jake Wangner. I’m surprised that I have not heard more about them, considering the level at which they are creating photographs.

And, if you could meet one of your ideal artists from the past, who would it be and what will you ask about?

It may seem like my obvious answer would be Eugene Smith, but if I really had an opportunity to speak with an artist of the past, it would be with Kentaro Miura. His manga “Berserk” is a masterpiece in every way. The highly detailed and expressive art of the series alone is enough to show how masterful he was in his craft, not to mention the phenomenal story of it all. I would’ve loved the chance to just sit down and have a conversation with him. Of course, I’d ask the typical questions of what influenced Berserk, as well as how he came up with the concept. How much of himself did he put into the characters? Most of all, I would’ve wanted to see everything that it took to create such a masterful piece of art. How much time, effort, influences, distractions, everything surrounding every detail about the making of his tale. I also would have asked him how Berserk ends, since I won’t be able to read it from him.

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