Interview with Spanish Photographer José Luis Vilar Jordán

Happy to see how my series of interviews with brilliant photographers from around the globe expands every week. This time I wish to extend my thanks and appreciation to José Luis Vilar for sharing insights into his internationally acclaimed work and lifetime passion for photography. What fascinates me about his images is the way he translates urban geometries and different perspectives of reality into art.

‘Insist, Persist, Resist and Never Give Up.’ (J.L.V.J.)

Award-winning Spanish photographer, José started as a self-taught and experimented with all kinds of photographic genres from architectural and minimalist photography to portraiture. After having developed a career in a different sector for almost a decade, he returned to photography in 2013 and is now fully dedicated to his passion. José’s aim is to continue capturing moments and enjoy shooting.

G.M. Could you please tell us about your first encounter with photography? What made you start as a photographer?

J.L.V. My first contact with photography was when I was six years old, with my sister’s Polaroid camera. I was amazed how I could stop time with a snapshot. Seeing the different views of reality, its different frames, is what made me really start as a photographer.

Urban Geometry by José Luis Vilar Jordán
Urban Geometry © José Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. What is your favorite destination for travel photography?

J.L.V. I feel a special predilection for architectural and urban photography. Valencia, my city, is an ideal site for architecture and new constructions. Architects like Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster and David Chipperfield have left their mark on the city. Buildings as La Lonja (Gothic) or Central Market (modernist) are also worth photographing.

Architecture Photograph by Spanish Photographer José Luis Vilar Jordán
Architecture Photograph © José Luis Vilar Jordán

London is one of my favorite places, the combination of classical and modern architecture fascinates me, as well as the very interesting multiracial plurality for urban photography. Its gray atmosphere creates a diffused light which is very suitable for architectural photography.

G.M. What project is held dearest to your heart and why?

J.L.V. My dearest project was a story I did through an NGO center for mentally handicapped individuals. Their expressions of joy and hearts full of kindness remained at the bottom of my soul.

Urban Photograph by José Luis Vilar Jordán
Urban Photograph © José Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. How important is post-processing in your work? Is there an editing software you prefer using?

J.L.V. We live in the digital period when post-processing is as important as the development of negatives in the analog period. I always shoot in RAW format. However, the results obtained in post-processing greatly enrich the final image. I don´t usually do many photomontages that alter reality significantly. I do it only in creative photography, never in a report. The programs I use are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw.

Alone, photograph by Jose Luis Vilar Jordán
Alone © Jose Luis Vilar Jordán, Winner of Photo Contest Street Photo (Noir Magazine)

G.M. What camera gear do you currently use? Do you take with you any additional equipment on a shooting day?

J.L.V. I currently use a Canon EOS 70D, but waiting for the Canon 5D Mark IV to appear on the market. I mostly use three lenses: Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS USM, Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 EX DC HSM and the Canon 85mm 1.8

On a day of shooting I take extra equipment with me: two external flash, a LED focus, tripod, reflectors, neutral density filter, and polarizing filter.

L'Hemisferic - photo by Jose Luis Vilar Jordán
L’Hemisferic © Jose Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. Where do you find inspiration? Could you name a few photographers that you consider influential for your style?

J.L.V. I find inspiration in minimalist architecture, in buildings with marked lines, where sunlight shadows are projected in surreal shapes acquired by buildings reflected in water, where everything is part of everything, where less is more. Photographers who inspire me are Leontjew Klaus, Lino Russo, Matthieu Venot. My favorite is Paul Clemence.

Architecture Photograph taken by Jose Luis Vilar Jordan
Architecture Photograph © Jose Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. How would you define your photography in three words?

J.L.V. Minimalist, urban, geometry.

Winner Photo of Spain National Award Sony World Photo Award by José Luis Vilar Jordán
© José Luis Vilar Jordán – Winner of Spain National Award, Sony World Photography Award 2015

G.M. If you could start again as a photographer is there anything you would do differently? Are there any sectors you’d like to explore more?

J.L.V. Maybe I would focus more on a specific area of the image, I would direct all my energies to a single item, a single specialty. At a later stage it´s possible to explore portraiture more, find the soul of the people through their eyes.

urban photograph by Jose Luis Vilar
Urban Photography © José Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. If it weren’t for photography, what else would you do?

J.L.V. Write, express as much detail as possible of the pictures in my mind.

G.M. Any words of wisdom for photography enthusiasts at the beginning of their journey?

J.L.V. Insist, persist, resist and never give up.

urban photo by Jose Luis Vilar Jordan
© José Luis Vilar Jordán

G.M. Can you tell us a bit about your future projects?

J.L.V. My future projects will go through photographing buildings in urban environments around the world.

Thanks to José for being part of my interview and for sharing his impressive photographs with us. Discover more of the photographer’s work and projects on his official website: If you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment and share.

Disclaimer: This interview has been lightly edited for proofreading and style purposes.

All photos featured in this post belong to José Luis Vilar Jordán and are protected by copyright.

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