Interview, Jomayra Texeira -
The Journey of Compassion & Perspective
Jomayra! Every time I look at your work as visualmemories, I am reminded of a quote by Georgia O'Keeffe, “One can’t paint New York as it is, but rather as it is felt.” - is that true for you?
Absolutely! It is the only way I experience New York City. For me, my photography needs to be felt, because it is so personal to me. That’s the only way to experience it in my eyes. The way I speak through my photos. The only way I know how to create. The best way I can keep true to my self and the way I see and feel things.
You have mentioned before that you like to explore every possible angle to shoot in a given location. How do you play these endless variations? In your films and photographs?
I certainly do. I’ve learned that in order to stay creative you must be aware of all of your surroundings, it keeps your creativity flowing. For example, I never plan locations, I never plan a photo. For me, this is the way I keep my mind curious. If I find a certain location that intrigues me - then I try to look at it from different perspectives. I even come back at different times of the day/night, it always looks different. I just allow my self to be endlessly curious. You have to find your own way to express yourself, and you have to remind yourself that your own perspective it’s far more interesting.
When these variations are played by you, all climates and moods are included. How do you think that allows you to explore and present the culture and psyche?
I just simply let it be whatever it has to be. I don’t ever think about it too deeply, just because sometimes overthinking ruins your creativity. I just allow it to take me wherever it has to take me. Hopefully, the end results will speak for itself.
Have there been any personally insightful moments for you, an experience that you can share with us that transformed your approach towards how you communicate with the atmosphere around you?
There has a been a few experiences that have allowed me to be more spontaneous, more brave when it comes to street photography. My favorite memory was getting close to my subject (person) and feeling really nervous but also very excited because I knew that moment would impact both of us in one way or another. We ended up having a whole train ride conversation about life, and of course photography. I communicate better with strangers oddly enough and of course rainy, foggy days, it’s my way of coping with my own feelings. They allow me to be whoever I want to be at that very moment, without hesitation or fear of judgment.
With that, can you please share with us the details on how you create your images?
I won’t get too deep into details because when it comes to creating you can’t really put it into words, you just let your self-feel it out. I usually just listen to a whole music album, create a narrative in my head and from there I just let the flow take me wherever it needs to. It usually to takes me to a dark place, probably why my photo editing is so dark and mysterious. I’m a loner, I’ve always been like that ever since young, so whenever I’m alone, I am the best version of my self. I do my best work when I’m surrounded by silence. I drown myself in it sometimes just to listen to my own thoughts, so I don’t take my solitude for granted, it helps me stay creative.
Since you have called these moments straight memories, do you ever find these moments overwhelming due to your identification to other people’s stories and lives? How do you interact with those feelings you encountered?
If anything they help me cope with my own issues and the memories I keep. There are times when I connect with someone for a brief moment and I realize that I’m not so alone after all. It’s a beautiful thing to keep your memories but to also keep some of the memories from strangers, makes me smile. You owe them nothing, and they owe you nothing, it’s a beautiful thing.
Coming back to your process, since you like to experiment with your compositions - when exactly does a shot fall in the rhythm of your perspective and aesthetic?
I’d like to think that I have a certain theme to my work, so for me as long as they are dark and mysterious, its a true representation of who I am. I like to experiment because it keeps me inspired, but I don’t like to do anything that’s not representative of me. I don’t go too far away from myself. I just allow myself to create different characters, even if it’s just briefly. Sometimes I want something light and happy but those feelings are the hardest for me to express.
It’s like writing a happy love poem, it just doesn’t flow as easily. The best way I can create is through my own feelings, sometimes I don’t want to deal with them, so I hide them but they always seem to come out to play when I go shooting. My mind goes places where it’s hard to put into words, it changes and it takes me by surprise, I just let it be. Sometimes I’m in charge, sometimes I just let myself be controlled by the emotions.
Can you talk to us about the significance of weather in these images and how time is an underlying theme in all of your images?
I think is safe to say that I feel most comfortable in rainy weather. I almost feel like I step into an alternate reality and I feel at home, at ease.
I don’t ever look at New York the same way everyone else does, I look at it as if it was another world, and I’m a new character living in it. While most people call it “bad weather” this is when I feel like myself the most. The city becomes a bit isolated, people hide from the rain, so for me, it creates a whole new world, a new way to see New York. I love isolating my subjects in such a big city, I enjoy focusing on that isolation. It makes me feel like I can finally express how I feel most of the times when I walk aimlessly through the city.
I can’t allow myself to see it as everyone else, not anymore because it’s just not satisfying to me. I also love the sound of rain, it makes me feel like I belong, for a brief moment I feel like I belong.
Before we ask you the last question, Can you tell us about your favorite movies and a book/story that you absolutely love?
This is a hard question for me because I have so many favorite films that it’s hard to just pick one or a few. I will say one for the moment “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” is one that always brings me inspiration. It is so relatable yet visually pleasing and simple. The storytelling is everything, from the dialogue to the visuals. it’s a perfect combination of a small dose of fiction mixed in with a lot of disturbing realities. Anything by David Fincher, Pedro Almodóvar, Scorsese, and I cannot forget to mention Quentin Tarantino. They all play a part for when I look for inspiration.
I haven’t read a good book in a LONG time, but I own every Charles Bukowski book. Ever since I was 15 I’ve read his stuff and always related to him on a very deep level. I love his dark sense of humor. I always say he’s my soulmate, the way he felt about love, sex and the people that surrounded him, was always so raw yet so beautiful. I’m Currently going through “Love is a dog from hell” for the hundredth time.
Lastly, what would you like to suggest or share with other photographers/filmmakers?
My best advice is always to represent yourself through your own work. Be passionate and brave, find your self in your work, get lost in it. Don’t be so afraid of rejection, but most importantly, don’t replicate something just because you admire someone else’s work. CREATE your own voice, and the rest will come to you naturally. I also like to remind people to not be in such a hurry to know It all, just let things come to you, evolution doesn’t happen in a day.