Igor Termenon is a Spanish photographer currently working and living in Edinburgh. He is the founding-editor of contemporary analogue photography 'zines Girls/Boys on Film which, after 22 issues, have now been stocked in the Museum of Modern Art's library archive and curated into a 'best of' book by top Korean publishers, SSE Project. We caught up with Termenon to discuss how his travels have shaped his photography, the success of the Girls/Boys on Film 'zines as well as getting the low-down on his latest project, Future Positive.
TRIP: Can you tell us a little bit about your background…
Igor Termenon: I was born in Ponferrada, a small town in the north-west of Spain. I lived there until I was 18 and moved to Gijon, a coastal city in the north, to study my bachelor degree in industrial engineering. I think it was in the second year of my degree when I bought my first camera and started taking photos, although I didn't take it seriously until 2 or 3 years after that.
In my fourth year I moved to Glasgow for a year as part of an Erasmus scholarship. I started to develop my personal work when I was in Glasgow, documenting my daily life and how moving from one place to another was gonna affect me in the next few years. I loved my stay in Glasgow and I consider the city a great source of inspiration for my work.
After that year in Glasgow, I went back to Spain to finish my degree. I was living in Gijon only for another year and then moved to Liverpool to study a masters degree in product design. I only stayed in Liverpool for a year, but during that time I started Girls/Boys on Film and continued developing my personal work even more.
After finishing my masters degree I moved to Edinburgh. I've been living here for almost 2 years now and I'm currently freelance in photography/design whilst working full time as a content marketing specialist in a small agency.
TRIP: Would you say your travels have influenced your work?
Igor Termenon: Definitely. The UK has been a really important influence, especially in my fashion job. I find it easier here to find the locations I'm looking for - maybe because I didn't grow up here and I find everything more exciting than in Spain.
It has also affected my personal work. When I started my series "I Used To Live Here", I wanted to document all the places where I lived from 2009 to 2012. I lived in 5 different places and it was hard to know what to call home or even know where I was gonna end up next.
TRIP: How would you describe your photographic style?
Igor Termenon: I always use the word "simple". I like to think that my fashion work is really relaxed and real - I'm not a fan of excessive retouching and post-production.
Some people have said that my work is "intriguing" in some kind of way. I guess that's a feeling I want to transmit when you're looking at my photos.
TRIP: Analogue or Digital?
Igor Termenon: I feel more comfortable with film - it's so much easier for me to get the result I'm looking for. I'm currently shooting all my personal and fashion work with film cameras and I use digital for assignments like street style.
TRIP: You use natural lighting within your photographs - When did you start using light in this way? What inspired it?
Igor Termenon: I think I've used natural light since I started taking photos. One of the main reasons was that when I started, I didn't have access to a studio space. I never learnt to set up lights and at the same time, I didn't really like artificial light. That's why I started to work with natural light and now it's part of my photography style.
TRIP: Do you always work with stylists for your fashion shoots? How does that relationship work on the day of shooting?
Igor Termenon: I normally work with stylists for all my fashion shoots, although I've done some styling myself for some menswear shoots. It's hard to find a stylist that understands exactly what I'm looking for. I've worked with some great people but I've had to say no to some proposals because it wasn't my style and that's something I really don't want to compromise.
I always try to meet the stylists before the shoot to have a coffee and discuss the idea. It avoids some unpleasant surprises on the day of shooting! I always let the stylists have their own vision but I'm not afraid of proposing changes if I see the photo is not working.
TRIP: You shoot in some pretty great locations - How do you source them?
Igor Termenon: They're usually places I've seen before. Maybe I'm walking in the street and I see an amazing location and I keep it in mind for a future shoot. When I'm in Spain, it's easier for me to move around because I can use my mom's car there and that's why I'm always shooting in forests, fields, etc. when I'm back home. Here in the UK I'm a little constrained, but there are amazing locations with easy access in every city.
TRIP: When putting a shoot together, what comes first? The story, the model or the clothes?
Igor Termenon: Most of the times the starting point is the story. After that, I try to find the right models and work on the styling at the same time. A couple of times, the model has been the first thing. I might come across a model that would be amazing for one of my shoots and decide to create a story around her/him.
TRIP: Photographing Girls or photographing Boys?
Igor Termenon: I started photographing girls because it was easier to find girls who were willing to stand in front of a camera. I've shot quite a few boys in the last three years and I really like some of those editorials. I don't think I really have a preference to be honest, I now try to balance the shoots so I have an equal number of female/male models in my portfolio.
TRIP: Do you have a favourite photograph or a favourite shoot?
Igor Termenon: I have a few favourite photographs from my personal work (the ones I've selected for this interview could be considered personal favourites). I also have a favourite shoot, "Suburban Dream". I love how everything turned out the day of the shoot, great team and great results.
TRIP: How different do you think your personal photography is from your commissioned works like your recent Street Style photos?
Igor Termenon: If I compare my personal work to my street style photos, they're completely different. You can still have your personal style in street style photography but it's actually really difficult to achieve this. Street Style is so fast and you can't really stage anything - I actually find it quite stressful!
For some of the still life/event photography I've been doing lately I have been able to use my personal style, which is great because it allows me to share my vision.
TRIP: You are the editor of Girls on Film and Boys on Film. Can you tell us how the ‘zines came about…
Igor Termenon: As I mentioned before, I started the zines when I was studying in Liverpool. Back then, I wasn't taking too many photographs and wanted to find a way to still be connected to photography. I had been interested in the editorial side of photography for a while and decided to contact some photographers I knew and created the first issue. That was in February 2011, and since then I've published 14 issues of Girls on Film and 8 issues of Boys on Film.
TRIP: The ‘zines have really took off. How does it feel to be a part of something that has been so well received?
Igor Termenon: It's great! It's really rewarding to see that people like them and they consider them a source of inspiration and a place to find great photography talent (which was one of the main reasons to start the zine).
TRIP: What’s next for Girls/Boys on Film?
Igor Termenon: I'm now having a short break after over 2 years producing zines every 1-2 months. In September I'm planning to start working on a new website for the zine, where I will publish content (editorials, portfolios, interviews) every week. I think it will be a great addition to the printed zine, which will still be published.
TRIP: You launched Future Positive recently. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Igor Termenon: I'm the managing editor of Future Positive, a project founded by Jakub Michalski. Future Positive is a website where we showcase creative and entrepreneurial projects through video, photography and interviews. We started the website in January this year and we've already featured some really interesting projects from all over the world.
We now have a growing network of contributors from different countries producing content for the website. We want Future Positive to be an online resource, where people can discover other people who are doing creative things, starting their own businesses and following their dreams.
TRIP: Where do you see Future Positive going in the future?
Igor Termenon: We have some future plans but they're still very vague. What we want right now is to keep on reaching new people and publishing exclusive content more often.
TRIP: When you look back on the work you’ve created over the last few years – what are you most proud of?
Igor Termenon: I think I'm proud of everything I've done but maybe Girls/Boys on Film are my "little babies". It's been great to see people's response and that's what makes me most proud of.
TRIP: What’s next for you?
Igor Termenon: Next month I'm gonna focus on the new Girls on Film website. I'm also planning to start a new personal photography project that is going to reflect why I find Glasgow so inspiring. Can't say much right now, but I hope to publish the first part of this photo series really soon.