Landscapes as Portraits: Capturing The Island of LanzaroteLandscapes as Portraits: Capturing The Island of Lanzarote

Landscapes as Portraits: Capturing The Island of Lanzarote

Photographer Denisse Pérez captures the sun-soaked colour palette of Lanzarote, the easternmost of the Canary Islands.

Off the coast of West Africa is Lanzarote, one of eight Canary Islands. As someone who’s admittedly never been interested in landscape photography, Denisse Ariana Pérez finds her own way to capture the island’s “eccentric character,” by treating them like portraits.
Lanzarote is by far one of the most special lands I have ever set foot on.
This is a volcanic island where streams of petrified lava form part of the scenery, and even part of architectural infrastructures. The soil is mostly black, and the houses are white. For a lover of the monochromatic such as myself, this was an aesthetic dream.
Nature has served as the background to a lot of my work, but I usually focus on photographing the interaction of human beings with nature, not uninhabited landscapes. However, the older I grow, the deeper and more spiritual my relationship with nature becomes. I wander in nature and have conversations with its many elements. It is a very private, meditative, and intimate activity for me, and maybe that is why I usually take those intimate portraits of nature when I am usually on my own and don’t always publish or share them. Now, more and more often I photograph uninhabited landscapes, sometimes as people and infrastructures interact with them.
“Maybe this is my way of honouring nature from up close as if every element had its own personality, its own eccentric character.”
Denisse Ariana Pérez
I have never been really keen on landscape photography if I am honest. I would usually find most landscape photography to be a tad predictable, too pristine, and perfectly centred. I, on the other hand, have never cared much for perfect and pristine images or art.
While in Lanzarote, I was so captivated by the extraterrestrial landscape around me and as I photographed it I realised that when I do shoot landscapes I treat landscapes as I treat my portraits. I get really close to them just as I would with a human being. I look at the elements in nature from abstract angles and I shoot them with a classic 50mm lens. I move my body a lot as I photograph, it almost feels like I am flowing into a dance sequence. I do this to connect with what I am shooting not only from the perspective of its frontal facade but also because I always try to look for the twist in a story.
Maybe this is my way of honouring nature from up close as if every element had its own personality, its own eccentric character. These explorations in nature are very intuitive and spontaneous, they are more focused on what speaks to me in that moment than a montage. And by speaking I mean really speaking, not just what catches my eye. There is a big opportunity in being in the presence of nature and that is to connect to ourselves within the context of belonging to something bigger. There are so many conversations to have between us and the other living beings around us.
To view more of Denisse’s work, you can head to her social channel here. You can discover more on art as a journey to self discovery here or the intrinsic connection between art and the ocean here on Urth Magazine.