Shutterbug Sunday: Mateo de la Rioja

Today’s offering comes from another amazing photographer, Mateo de la Rioja, and definitely leans toward the more erotic. His work is sensual, enticing and can be very graphic. Enjoy!

How long have you been capturing the world around you, either
professionally or from the first time you picked up a camera?


I have been fascinated with photography since I was a young child. My first camera, which I received when I was about five years old, was a Fisher Price. I later got a Polaroid camera as a gift from my grandfather, and when I was in high school, I bought my first SLR. This was before digital came along and revolutionized everything, so back then I was mostly shooting Fujichrome Velvia color slide film. I put the camera aside when I went to college, and only reconnected with photography some years later when I first had the opportunity to play around with a digital camera. When I realized that I could focus on capturing moments without the need for any intermediaries, an entire universe of possibilities opened up. I have not stopped making images since then.
Bestiary, the project that I’m currently working on, was started in 2009.

What/who is your favorite subject? Do you find humans difficult or
intriguing to shoot?

I will always prefer to shoot people. I think photographing humans entails performing an extrospective exercise: you have to connect with the model, communicate your vision, and then transform it into an amalgamation of your idea and the model’s interpretation of it. In other words, the end image is the product of a dialectical dynamic between model and photographer. This does not really occur with other subjects. When shooting landscapes, for example, the process is much more introspective: the image is the product of the photographer’s deliberate choice to put a frame around a section of nature. In that respect, there is no communication, no tension between subject and photographer.


Moreover, how a person is framed reveals as much about the photographer as the model. A good portrait, in addition to capturing the essence of the person being portrayed, should also reveal something about the photographer. What the photographer chooses to highlight of the model, the setting, the mood, and so on, reflect a great deal about the photographer’s disposition.

In short, I believe photographing people can be a great exercise of self-exploration.

If you could choose any one person in history, alive or dead, to do a full
photo shoot of, who would it be and why?

I would love to photograph the olympic athletes. I am fascinated by the story that each of their bodies can tell. I would love to be able to convey in images the long hours of training, the sacrifices made by these athletes to shape and condition their bodies to do the amazing things they do. There is a story in every every limb, muscle, and scar.

ESPN, of course, has already done something along these lines in their body issue.

Do you have a fantasy location you would love to shoot? If so, is there a
specific subject to go along with it?

I would love to do some underwater photography in a style similar to the work of Elena Kalis, except mine would involve nudes, naturally. The perfect setting for that would most likely be some remote island in the Caribbean where water is translucent and the sand is white. If I could throw in a sailboat and some surfing into the mix, I would be a very happy guy.






















Erotic photography by Mateo de la Rioja

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