Interview by Julia Socorro, @islassem
Lara, how did the need to communicate through photography arise?
Since I was little I always liked expressing myself by painting, I was very aware of the things that were happening around me. I was one of the girls who painted the walls of the house, and when I was eight years old I started going to oil painting classes. Imagine, it was a smurf!
Over time I came into contact with photography, since my father liked photography. They weren't professional cameras, because they aren't either. Since I had to dedicate more time to studies, I gave up oil painting classes. Right at that moment, my parents gave me a digital camera, basic, I was about twelve years old. I loved taking photos.
Adolescence arrived and I began to suffer bullying at the nuns' school. She was a very shy, reserved girl... she had no references to older brothers. My brother is nine years younger than me. He didn't count, he didn't share what was happening. What did I do? I used art as a means of expression. What he did was that he came home, secretly took my father's camera and characterized me, depending on the day, how I felt... and he began to take photos of me. self portraits. This is how he vented all the anguish, all the pain he was feeling with the violence he received in class. Four or five years passed like this.
At the age of seventeen they gave me a reflex, my first professional camera. From there I reconnected with photography, with nature. I came out of that black period that I had. I was on Erasmus in Ireland, I joined a photography club with the university and there I learned the most technical part and to this day... – Lara laughs continuously with that joy and tenderness that characterizes her.
You mix nature and its care with your art, with your photography. What leads you to this look with which you enlighten us?
I have always been a lover of nature, especially the sea. I have grown up in a coastal town, I almost learned to swim before I learned to walk. I am a scuba diver and I see a lot of the suffering that we cause to the planet and to the animals. What we divers see, the truth is that it has no name.
I use the self-portrait in my works to vent and represent things to criticize. One day I began to think about the frustration I felt with the effects that plastic produces because we found so many animals trapped, dead, suffocated. I got to work on a photograph through which I show all the damage we are doing to the planet. Another day I was thinking about tobacco, smoke and how we are destroying the ozone layer and so on.
I have also been involved in volunteering, for example with Foresta, reforesting the summit. My father is the founder of the Gran Azul Diving Club, which is a Telde Club. He founded it when I was four years old. I have grown up watching my father take care of the sea, getting to know the people. He began to organize the cleaning of the marine coasts of Telde. Today the City Council does it.
This was the education I received, the education to take care of the planet, take care of the sea... clean, not pollute... The education I received, especially from my father, to take care of what surrounds us.
What do you think about that idealized image that we have of the seabed?
During the pandemic when we were locked up we were able to see the dolphins in Venice, the whales and the animals coming back to shore. We thought that within the pain of human losses, life resurfaced for the fish, which were reproducing. The first day they let us go play sports, we were in Tufia at seven in the morning and when we submerged in the sea, there was nothing, nothing. They had been dedicating themselves to illegal fishing at night, while we were locked up and there were no fish in the sea.
You go into the sea and there are a lot of fish entangled with hooks. The bottom is full of trammel nets, plastic. I remember two things from that day: one that there were no fish and another, finding a mask at the bottom, twenty-two meters deep, hooked to a sea urchin. Every day that we go diving we take something out: hooks, sinkers, plastics…
Lara, I am looking at your instagram there is a photograph where the fish are giving you kisses… I observe that what you create through photography with the digital image treatment technique is art…
It is difficult to integrate everything, with the years I am improving.
How do you define the technique you work with the art you create?
It is a question that I still find it difficult to answer. I am not really sure. I have noticed two or three Spanish-speaking girls who work in the style that I do. There are several terms that can be reflected in my work. One is "conceptual" because I am not taking a photograph, I am thinking about how I am going to take the photograph, in the sketch, in the digital technique that I am going to use, in the props... in post-production. It's a concept I'm creating because I don't just take pictures. The second term is "painterly" because I give it a painting style. Even a third term that I begin to introduce is "activist" because I am claiming with ideas and making a social critique. I don't do it with all the photos, in general almost all the purpose is to criticize the things that exist in society and need a touch of attention.
I met an art dealer years ago and when I asked her about the definition of art, she answered me: "art is when your emotions move" and seeing your great work moves your emotions a lot, you reflect, you learn... In what way? When did you start to integrate this activist part?
At the end of 2019 I integrated the activist look into the work I do. It was at that moment when I started working with Photoshop and I began to take photography against gender violence, about the fires at our summit in Gran Canaria, I wanted to show the pain of what was happening if the island were a person. I always like to accompany the photograph with a text that I write, or adding book references. Whenever I hear something that catches my attention, that gives me an idea… I take note in my notebook.
You have a publication where you talk about the reification of the female body…
I exhibited it at the Casa de Colón, there were women who left the showroom crying. It was not my intention. They told me very strong stories. I think this type of art is very necessary, the art that moves us inside. It's not just awareness, when some people are in the exhibition they reconcile with an experience... I don't know.
Lara, I see that you do a lot of exhibitions. Are they all in Gran Canaria? On different islands?
Last year I started doing solo exhibitions. Before, I was in a bus. I stopped exhibiting in the collective because I went to live abroad. Upon returning to the island, already with prizes won in the United States, it arose naturally to hold solo exhibitions.
Tell me about those awards in the United States?
The prizes are called "MUSE Photography Awards" They are international awards and whoever wants to can present. I found out about these awards through the admiration I feel for the professional work of a Catalan woman and I presented myself with a fresh photograph that I had, which was already published on social networks when there were only four days left to close the contest. The truth is that I like to present myself with new photos for contests. It came to me and I did it like this. I tried... because there are people who have a long history, recognitions...
On April 26, they announced the award on the web, they did not send mail. She was very nervous the day before. I got on the web the next day and like that for days and he didn't see me. In these awards you pay for the statuette in advance so that they send it to you because it is cheaper. I tried to contact them to get my money back. I tried all channels. On April XNUMX they answered me and said: “I don't know what happened, we had problems contacting you and we are not going to return your money. You are the winner!" And besides, they told me that I had won two prizes. I went to the website, my name came up and I started crying and crying...
You tell me and my hair stands on end with emotion...
I was at home crying, my partner was not there. The dog jumping on top.
I looked at it for several days on the web... because I didn't believe it.
Of the exhibitions, what have you done with which one do you feel most fulfilled?
The Telde exhibition, because it was the first exhibition I did, was very well received, with around seventy people. It is a difficult question. All administrations have treated me very well. The Casa de Colón is a very complicated space to exhibit and I exhibited there. They did a great promotion and a group of women from ASOR LAS PALMAS, the association of deaf people from Las Palmas came. They were with me, with the interpreters, I remember this moment with emotion.
This new exhibition that you inaugurate in Arucas. Where is? What is the theme?
The exhibition is in the Municipal Museum of Arucas, which is inside the park. The theme is "respect" and it is the line of all the themes that I have. I work on respect for women, for nature, for people... There are three rooms. In the first room is the most psychological part, I call it "the world of dreams" is where I talk about anxiety, jealousy, depression, resilience... The second room is the environment and the third room is focused on women.
In the women's room, what are we going to find?
Mainly gender violence. There are two works on breast cancer, which is a disease that is the order of the day, and endometriosis. It is a disease even unknown to women, who ask me. Many of us suffer from it, and it is not visible. I was detected almost four years ago. It sounded like I was dying, because I didn't know what it was.
Lara, you are a very young person and you have very integrated in your DNA to transmit all these values that we see reflected in your works on instagram and that you are telling us...
My job is not just to educate people. It is a way for me to get rid of emotions. Because the issue of plastic and pollution touches me a lot inside and when I create the work I let go of the pain I feel. I help myself. The self-portrait began for me as therapy and continues to be therapy. Art for me is therapeutic. The fact of being able to create myself from the beginning: model, props and everything that entails, gives me a lot of relief. Being able to represent the things I feel... is inexplicable.
Do you dedicate enough hours of your life to building?
I'm always thinking about the photo. I can spend months and years thinking about the photo. The day I know what photo I'm going to take, I spend sleepless nights because of anxiety... thinking, thinking... scheming. Then is when the process was triggered. Laura doesn't exist. I focus on it, I enjoy it so much.
It happened to me with a photo last summer that I spent three nights without sleep because I spent all night editing the photo. It's a lot of hours.
You have that influence of accompanying your father to the sea. What influences do you have from your mother?
My mother has not been such an artist. My father does underwater photography and I participate with him in competitions. My mother has the strength, it happened to me at the beginning that people told me that this was not photography, nor art, that it was rubbish. Then… they came to me asking for Photoshop advice. My mother has always been a strong woman, a fighter, and what my mother has instilled in me is what has allowed me to not care about these kinds of things that they have said to me. The "I'm going ahead" is from my mother.
In addition, my mother was detected with stage 4 breast cancer, which is "operate now and pray." So, I lived at home the strength of my mother. She didn't go to bed to cry. My mother used to go to carnivals, with her friends… she took iron out of the disease. I was in Ireland on Erasmus, I found out about her illness two months before I came back. I have drawn from my mother, the strength.
What influence do you have from the trips you make?
In the trips I have made, I have discovered countries where people recycle, change the type of products they buy to take care of the environment, take more care of animals... You perceive more of their progress, their ecology.
I'm a vegetarian, here people laugh at me. In other countries there are many vegan and vegetarian options, they respect and adapt the diet and integrate it and provide facilities. This is another conversation.
Closing with this conversation, tell you that you are quite a discovery. Lara is very smiling, she is on the path of art, standing out as one of the best artists in the world, her award "MUSE Photography Awards" it reflects so.