Ana Dévora: Promised Paradise

Spanish ADC Member captures the desolation of the Salton Sea

ADC’s Photography Month is drawing to a close, but we still have plenty of incredibly talented ADC Members to introduce to the world! Some have been longtime professional photographers, while others are relatively new to the game, and still others just do it on the side while they hone their craft in other creative fields. The one common trait? They all love how a camera helps express their gifts.

Our next featured ADC Member is a Madrid-based photographer who enjoys “exposing everything that the human eye does not normally see.”

Portrait2016ANA DÉVORA
Madrid, Spain



How old were you when you became interested in photography? How did that interest come about, and how was it fostered?

I begin painting and drawing in front of the TV, trying to capture the characters as long as I can remember. In my house, my father was playing around with a video camera and a reflex camera, capturing me and my brother in our childhood. I began taking photos of my little brother Sergio with his equipment some years later, as well as landscapes and pretty much everything that attracted my attention. Taking photos was faster than drawing it all!

I’ve always been creative and I am interested in any tool and medium that allows me to express myself. After all, I studied fine arts at university, specializing in photography and video, as well as cinematography, due to my interest in capturing the moving image.

Do you remember the earliest photograph you ever took?

The earliest photographs were probably of my brother Sergio. I dressed him up as different characters and took photos and videos of him.

What type of photography would you say is your specialty, and how did it come to be your specialty?

Much in the same way as my drawings and paintings, I started capturing human bodies and faces. Some years later I became more motivated by abstract paintings as well as landscapes and characters. I mix it all when I use video as a medium.

Define your photographic style in a single sentence.

Exposing everything that the human eye does not normally see, or is hidden in each individual or situation, rarely shown or observed.

What’s your favorite camera to shoot with? What’s so awesome about it?

I think that more important than the technology is the idea and the cinematic eye. The technology is a medium, and I use it in order to suit my purpose according to each project. Nowadays you could create with a huge range of tools and cameras. Of course good equipment allows you to bring out the best quality in your images, but sometimes your budget restricts you.

Is there a particular project of yours of which you’re especially proud?

One that I am currently working on with others, and I am in the process of developing more about it, is called “Promised Paradise.” The project talks about perception; depending on different factors, the things that were sold to us as “paradise”, when viewed from a different angle, space-time or perspective, could appear as the complete opposite.

For this project I focused on the Salton Sea. Back in the 1950s, the Salton Sea was one such paradise — a world class vacation destination for the rich and famous. It was suddenly abandoned by the masses after a series of droughts, floods, and fish die-offs. There are few remaining people living there, struggling to keep a remodeled version of the dream alive. In an era where exhibitionism and the loss of connection with the present moment leads us to think, if we determined as “normal” at all levels of existence, is nothing but folly invented by the man through his power interest.

What would be your dream client/project/collaboration?

I don’t have a specific one, as long as we connect, love and enjoy the project and the entire process.

Nowadays everyone has ‘cameras’ in their pockets and Instagram on their phones. How has this changed the photography game? How has this changed your photography game?

Today everyone has a camera. There are lower prices on reflex cameras, and your phone has a better camera too, with lots of filters you could use to improve your photos with just a click. Nowadays it can be more difficult to stand out because good photography surrounds us everywhere. At the same time, technology has made it so much easier for everyone to potentially be seen by the public through social media and the internet.

That said, everyone has access to pencils, but only some people are able to draw and write in a proper way, and while everyone now has a decent camera, not everyone can call themselves a photographer.

“…everyone has access to pencils, but only some people are able to draw and write in a proper way, and while everyone now has a decent camera, not everyone can call themselves a photographer.”

What are your other creative outlets and sources of inspiration?

Cinema, art, travel, people and life itself. I could find inspiration in almost everything in a certain way. It could be in a random landscape, a music video, an art exhibition, a film or painting, even in a person I find in the middle of the street. It’s not necessary for these things to be pretty or perfect. Everything has a point of interest in one way or another.

Inspiration is something you could achieve in a dream, and within a few days or weeks it knocks on your door.

Fill in the blank: “When I’m not shooting, I am…”

“…I am creating in my mind and being inspired by experiences.”

Which professional photographers do you look up to, whether from afar or as mentors?

So many! Gregory Crewdson, Sebastiāo Salgado, Nan Goldin, Irving Penn, and the cinematographers Conrad Hall, Emmanuel Lubezki, Ed Lachman, Darius Khondji, Vilmos Zsigmond an so on.

When all is said and done, what is it about being a photographer that gets you up in the morning and drives your passion?

Put in front of me and the spectator situations, stories based on experiences told through images to let us feel and think further about it, as an open book with non verbal communication, capturing the essences of the moment.

Photography Month takes place throughout March, and is open exclusively to ADC Members. Not yet a Member? Join today!