November 20, 2015

Ever thought to yourself, what would an Imperial Stormtrooper do on a day off? Spanish artist, Jorge Pérez Higuera imagines just that. Higuera shows us how he images a Stormtrooper to spend his days off in this hilarious photographic series, ‘The Other Side’. From taking a dunk in the tub and bossing some video games to playing a game of pool and refilling the car, his Stormtroopers act out the things we do thoughtlessly. But it’s just not as funny when we do them. We caught up with Jorge to chat about how the shoot came together and finding inspiration in the everyday.

UO: Where does your passion for photography come from?

I discovered my love for photography when I was in my third year of my Fine Arts degree in Madrid. To be honest, my passion for photography came about by chance.

UO: How would you describe your style in three words?

I actually don’t know! I don’t think I have a style yet; I’m interested in certain photography techniques, but I don’t think I would define it as a style.

UO: We love your Stormtrooper photographic series titled ‘The Other Side’ – Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the shoot?

I began this project in 2012 as my final year project for Photography at University, but to be honest I no longer remember how I came up with the initial idea. I had previously worked with staging photography and I think this project was the natural evolution of what I was doing in that moment.

UO: Can you tell us a little about how the shoot came together, from first idea to finished series?

Usually, I start with a little sketch of the scene that I imagine, and from there I begin to think what I need for it, from the most best location to the details and objects that have to be in the scene. I had previously worked on staged photography so I already had a number of good locations in mind. The other locations have been the result of intense research and, on a few occasions, luck was on my side and I discovered the perfect scenario without even looking for it.

As I already mentioned, I usually know what sort of scene I am looking for, including the poses and gestures of each character. I actually don’t have a group of actors but instead only have one, as I only own one costume. The rest of the characters are added using photo montage. The group photography is a result of a combination of several photographs, combined using a photo editing software. It makes each photograph a new challenge because you never see the complete result while you are shooting with the camera and you always have to imagine where every character will be located, leaving them enough space to be added later on.

This solution makes some of my original sketches very hard, if not impossible to make as all of a sudden, you can find out that the characters in the foreground cover the ones in the background. In such cases, the actors wearing the costumes have helped enormously, contributing with ideas and solutions. I am grateful and I want to thank all my family and friends for all the help and support that they have given me, as without them, this project would have never been possible.

UO: What was the biggest challenge you faced while pulling together this series?

The biggest challenge was trying to work with people who had their own costumes. Organizing it would have been a nightmare, but eventually ended up buying a suit when I realized that some pieces could break while taking pictures (in fact I have broken three). I hate to think what would have happened if they had broken the costumes of collaborators.

UO: Are there any themes your are always drawn to in your photographic work?

For now I think that everyday life is a subject to which I return again and again without realizing it. Working on it, in the end, the big issues, such as life or death end up having their own space.

UO: Who or what inspires your work?

The most inspiring thing is to observe the world around me. Look at others and try to figure out how much of their own behaviour is unique and what is universal. Also I can not ignore the cinema, literature, songs … pop culture in general!