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Camila Rodrigo Graña

Camila Rodrigo Graña (1983) is a Peruvian photographer. She has a degree in photography from El Centro de la Imagen and from Forma in Italy. She is best known for her diaristic snapshots of Peruvian youth culture. Borrowing from the visual vocabulary of documentary, fashion, and advertising photography, she depicts the freewheeling lifestyles of young Peruvian artists and nonconformists.

Rodrigo Graña’s work has been the subject of solo shows at El Centro De La Imagen in Lima, Peru in 2009 and 2011, and she has participated in group exhibitions in Peru and Italy. Her work is included in ReGeneration2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today, a travelling exhibition and book project highlighting exceptional emerging photographers, organized by the Aperture Foundation in 2010.

What does it mean to be a young photographer in Peru?

Right now, there’s a lot going on around arts and design in Peru. In the last 5 years, there has been a lot of interest and investment on photography, galleries and museums started to make big photo shows. Even the first photography Biennale occurred last year! So I think this is the best timing for a photographer in Peru.

Why did you choose to work in photography?

Photography allows me to experience and develop different themes of interest in a very spontaneous and honest way. It’s the tool I have chosen for expressing myself day by day. I enjoy a lot the possibility of living without knowing what to expect the next day.

Series Mentiras cordiales is seemingly very calm after the intense Simulacro series. How did these changes occur?

I don’t think Mentiras cordiales is calm. In first instance it can appear to be but the content of this series is really rough. With these photos I’m saying that nowadays we are living in a time of simulation and replacement, constantly trying to objectify nature and building imaginary versions of reality based on our own comfort and beliefs.

What does your workday look like?

The days I go out to do my personal work, I go out without any fixed image in my head, the only thing I have clear in my head is the concept or idea I want to transmit. So depending on that, I choose the place and see what I find. I never control any of the elements in my photos, they are totally natural and most of the time spontaneous.

Please, share an interesting story you have experienced during your photo shoot!

Once I needed to do some photos of a crocodile, so I talked to the people of the zoo in Lima, and they gave me the permission to enter the cage the precise day they feed the crocodiles which is every 15 days. This little detail worried me a lot because I only had 5 minutes to do the shot on the hungriest and most aggressive day of the month. Another important detail was that I didn’t have a zoom lens just a wide angle, that made the situation more dangerous and terrifying for myself. I remember there were a lot of kids watching from the other side of the window and their faces were really petrified! At the end I got the shot when the crocodile was eating a whole chicken from a bite.