Daniel Valledor: Street Photography Inspired by Cinema

All images by Daniel Valledor. Used with permission.

If you were to liken any sort of photography genre to cinema, it would be tough to do so with street photography–but Daniel Valledor is sort of putting that claim to rest. You see, Dan is a photographer and DP based in Madrid. During the day, he’s a Telecom Engineer but he’s worked in advertising and commercial photography. To his extra credit, he’s shot a number of award winning short films and has won over 50 awards and 100 selections in international film festivals.

So when you take a cinematographer and blend his work with street photography you get something with a classic, beautiful feel.

“Apart from my commercial work, I’m strongly devoted to documenting human souls in both metropolitan and rural spaces and the way they show a unique aspect of themselves when photographed.” Dan tells us. “Though my early work included posed portraits and detailed preparation, I have turned entirely towards a totally unstaged and unnoticed way of shooting, getting very close to the subjects without altering their expression or getting in their way, with the firm commitment of capturing the moment as honestly as I possibly can.” This methodology from Dan makes a lot of sense; and draws inspiration from the Magnum photographers who he admires the most.

Here are more words from Dan:

I shoot with a Leica M (both film and digital) and a 28mm lens. I chose this camera body because it is very small and quiet compared to any SLR, and allows me to approach people’s area of comfort without getting noticed. The 28mm is the result of testing different focal lengths: even though it’s harder to get the results I want than with a longer lens (ie 35mm or 50mm), it’s worth the effort. The sensation of proximity is hard to beat, but you have to get really close (less than 3 feet in most cases)!

I love practically all the Magnum-style photographers (Mark Cohen, Martin Parr, William Klein, Garry Winogrand, Harry Callahan, Joel Meyerowitz), and probably my favorite: Ramon Massats. But what really made me love photography in my early years was the wonderful cinematography work by Vittorio Storaro (“The Conformist” and “Reds”), Gordon Willis (“The Godfather”), Luis Cuadrado (“El Sur”) and Sven Nykvist. To me their use of light as a tool for storytelling is a true inspiration.

Be sure to check out more of Daniel’s work at his website.