Basilio Silva is a fashion and editorial photographer from Colombia and is now based in Paris. His photographic compositions are full of slightly provocative, mysterious, yet beautiful images and stories. He started shooting as a photojournalist, but somewhere along the way switched into fasion photography. Visit his website www.basiliosilva.com for more of his works and don't miss out the interview below.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Whom do you look up to?
I’ve always admired Helmut Newton’s work as a photographer but what I admire the most are children. They have a great capacity of wonder that is a very important tool for learning. They are the biggest color dreamers!
What made you want to become a photographer?
I come from a tiny village in Colombia named Pereira. There I was surrounded by violence, I grew up in a very hostile environment but protected by my parents’ love. I always knew I was going to be somebody happy. I had to make a lot of sacrifices to achieve my dreams and I thank the universe every day for letting me live and suffer them.
Are there any personalities that have contributed to your successful career path?
I’ve always been surrounded by great masters of art and photography. During my university studies in Colombia, I met professor Rodrigo Grajales, a great visual artist in my town, Pereira. It was him who introduced me to the passion for photography and it was with him that I started making art, focusing in documenting it. There in that same town I met Juan Carlos Londono, a great fashion photographer. He taught me the basics and the love for the fashion world. Later on in a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I met Aldo Bressi, who recently died, he introduced me into the fashion industry. And since then I kept meeting amazing people that helped me to grow and to believe in my career. It was then when my work started to get published in many different magazines in Latin America. And that helped me to work for Europe. Now I am based in Paris, France, a city that polished and changed my mind, my sensibility and my work. My home is here, there is nothing more inspiring, wild, sophisticated and full of culture than the city of light!
What was your favourite project and why?
Every project that comes along is an adventure for me and my team. I’m always working with amazing people that make every project an unforgettable trip. Recently I worked for the magazine SOHO in Colombia. It was a very interesting project where we made tribute to the beauty of the city and to greatest model in Colombia, Natalia Paris! We made artistic nudes all around emblematic places, making a mix between history, art and magical eroticism. This work turned into a book and the cover of the magazine. It was a hit in my country and I am very happy for it.
How do you define creativity?
Creativity is something that can’t be defined. It is a process that one should live, discover and rediscover by itself, through its senses and curiosity. Every person has its own different resources and every process is unique.
If you had one advice for someone seeking to live a creative life, what would you tell him?
We can all live by creativity and to live from it can be something very fun but at the same time something very risky. The society that we live in today is built to follow rules and laws, and this reflects people's way of thinking. The people that can escape are the artist, it’s difficult to live from art but you live happy. I think there are more and more people making art these days. I personally recommend everybody to focus a little part of their life on art because art makes your heart happy and gives you freedom.
Do you have a favourite quote that describes what you truly believe in?
‘L’essentiel est invissible aux yeux’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your career as a photographer?
I think the biggest challenge is to improve ourselves everyday, to survive and to be happy with what we do. It’s our duty to leave our footprint in the world, to leave a memory, to document it and to make magic out of our life.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at 21?
I wish I'd have known everything I know now… And the lottery numbers!
Is there anything for which you would be ready to give up your passion of photography?
No! Photography is my life. It’s everything I know to do. Ah! And cooking too 😉
All images © Basilio Silva