We often enjoy sharing photographs with our friends and families. If they are received with rapturous laughter and embarrassed pink cheeks, you know you have struck gold. They are valuable keepsakes meant to be enjoyed together.
In real terms, they are encapsulated short stories. A snapshot of time, preserved.
Ramirez is fully aware of the power of photography; he too has a penchant for telling stories. His mission is to combine photography with travel to raise awareness and inspire people to look outside of the bubbles they often find themselves trapped inside.
Some days, drinking tea and gazing through my office window, a pit forms in my stomach. A sinking feeling from an unusual thought that occurs to me, usually at the end of a long, hard day.
Most people live and die inside self-imposed boundaries. They fence themselves off from the world. Sometimes through fear—it can be a daunting prospect to go out on a limb and explore unfamiliar territories on your own. Some, like myself, are often just too busy with work and other commitments. Sadly, there is a third type of person and they miss out on some incredibly life-changing opportunities. They fail to discover the world because it never occurs to them that they can.
For me, it makes me physically sick to think about dying before I managed to visit the River Thames at Christmas or the Generalife in Granada. For you, it might be the Nazca lines in Peru or the Pyramids in Egypt.
For Ramirez, it was a work trip to Paris that changed his life forever. Something about the city of passion, love, lights, romance (insert other famous nouns for which it is recognised) The city captivated him, infected him with an enthusiasm that keeps him longing to return to Europe and discover all the new places this world has to offer.
Landscape photography requires a certain skill set. To be considered professionally, the artist must adhere to a couple of essential rules.
Firstly, he/she needs to have a theme. It will guide them on their mission to create a body of work that will stand out and tell a unique story that differentiates it from the many other talented photographers out there.
The second is quality. However, as with all art, quality is very much in the eye of the beholder. "An award-winning shot can be captured on an iPhone nowadays", admits Ramirez. For him, besides the usual technical considerations, quality is interchangeable with artistry. He continues, "the most important part is the artistry. Is there symmetry and an interesting story to tell?".
He says he is continuing to learn, and it is clear he is honing his craft considerably well, as proven with this blanched image of White Sands, somewhere outside of the White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico.
I see the golden fingers of sunshine dispersing through the clouds, and I notice the footprints left behind. They are small clues that prove that this image is authentic. It feels real, tangible, and I want to be there. Isn't that the purpose of these types of ideas?
I think the real key to this image is that it is taken at precisely the right moment. Seldom is a photograph captured at the perfect time and this is what separates the good from the exceptional.
So how does the artist know when the right time is? Well, you may have experienced this moment for yourself.
Have you ever felt like the entire world paused momentarily, like everything simply aligned? It is a fleeting feeling, and it seems as if no other person has experienced that moment at any time in history. If you have not experienced this, then I sincerely hope you will someday.
A famous street photographer called Henri Cartier-Bresson identified this as the decisive moment. With photography, it is all about timing. If someone is kicking a ball, there will be one instant that tells the whole story. If you are photographing a beautiful wood, there will be one moment where the light reveals the entire picture. A photographer’s job is to be there at that perfect time to push the button. Henri Cartier-Bresson strived to achieve this in his street photography and it works.
It seems Ramirez has sharp reflexes too and at no other point in time has the light fragmented in the clouds like that over those white sand dunes in New Mexico.
The odds are in his favour because he takes an opportunistic approach to his work and will often travel with his camera to discover these moments in the world. He thinks about our religion, politics, and customs and realises that they are all derived from us. He recognises that we are merely passing through at a specific moment in time and he feels it his job to catalogue it. I certainly hope he continues to capture such beautiful moments as this. It would be a shame to miss out on them, wouldn't it?