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Over the years, David has elevated his work from being a travel/nature photographer locally to being one of the main creators of a project that documents the international reality that exists with the naked eye but that we all choose to ignore. "We are all heroes" is a project that was initially born with the idea of exhibiting the current plastic problem in Bali, Indonesia and showing the evident contrast with what we are used to seeing from these places.
Why did you decide to create this project?
The first time I went to Bali with my friends i was surprised by the false reality that was shown on social networks . I did a complete research for places to visit, YouTube videos, blogs, maps, etc before going and everything seemed paradisiacal, idyllic, and when you go there you realize that reality is different. There is a serious problem with plastic, and that is not shown.
It is true that there are wonderful places. Bali fascinated me in every way, we cannot deny that, but as soon as you turn around you see that there is plastic everywhere. I had the need to tell that other reality, the one that is not shown in networks. So I decided to return the following year, but this time to focus on this topic. I wrote to associations, I found out about the subject, and a very interesting project came out.
What would you say is the problem and challenge that these countries face to stop producing plastic?
It is not easy, but the main challenge is for large companies. If you don't turn off the tap, no matter how hard you scrub the floor, the problem will continue to exist. If I had to summarize it, I would say: An education problem first. People, and I am not saying only in Indonesia, are not aware. You have to educate people from a young age in this regard. More and more people are doing a great job in this regard. Like Trash Hero, the association I contacted with. They are in charge of making weekly plastic collections at different points to raise awareness about this problem.
On the other hand, lack of an adequate waste management system. Keep in mind that in Indonesia there are more than 10,000 islands. Establishing a proper waste management system is complex, and more so in a country that does not have the resources to carry it out. Tourism is increasing every year. Except now because of the pandemic. But if we add the two previous points, you see that wast is increasing in a country that can not manage it. In the end they resort to burning them, which is not a solution.
Big companies and scarcity of alternatives. For me, without a doubt, this is the main problem. They are the first responsible for what they produce. We have all the capacity to contribute but there is not time. Until the big companies don’t turn off the tap, unfortunately, the problem will continue.
Was this your first time doing this kind of project?
Yes. I wanted to do a project that followed an environmental theme. My photographs theme’s were focused on travel and nature until now. But I felt the need to tell something else. I noticed that I had been stuck and my photographs were not telling anything. I wanted to get away from the purely cosmetic and superficial aspect and focus on the message. As I said, the first trip to Bali was the one that changed my chip. I only saw beautiful photographs of idyllic places and that clash with reality made me think that I should follow another path. I had to tell something different.
Can you explain your creative process?
It was clear to me that I wanted to get closer to people, tell the story up close to make it more personal. That is why I opted for more angular optics, although it was not always possible.
The decision to use black and white was later. Once at home, I began to experiment with editing while reviewing the material. I tried different types of editing but none convinced me. I realized that I was focusing too much on color and straying away from the message. I was afraid the use of colors would distract from the main topic and that it would end up creating ephemeral content. My goal was to ensure that over time these photographs were not influenced by the moment in which I edited them, nor were they judged by technique rather than content. In the end I chose not to distract with colors and focus only on black and white.
I called the project “We are all heroes” because everyone has the ability to change things. We are all part of the change. For this reason I darkened the blacks and people's faces, to downplay the subjects, and increased the whites. Since plastics are generally lighter in appearance, this made them more eye-catching. Specifically, there is a photograph taken on Canggu beach, which exaggerated this contrast between black and white. Thanks to this, simply by looking at the number of white dots that there are, we can get an idea of the amount of plastic that is on the beach.
After this experience, what changes were there in you and in your professional career?
On an individual level, I did notice changes. Since I returned from Bali I stopped consuming plastic bottles. I began to look at everything I was consuming and whether it contained plastic or not. It's amazing, I wasn't aware before. I try to avoid plastic whenever I can but at the same time it is complicated, there are not many alternatives. The important thing is to raise awareness and try to find solutions, starting at the individual level. On a professional level, that trip asked me to continue carrying out projects of this type. It's something that I would love. I feel that these projects give a deeper and more useful meaning to my work.
What did you learn from the Indonesian culture that you can apply in your day to day?
Their philosophy of life. Their religion. Learn to be present. Don’t overthinking about future, or about things that I can't control. They always have a smile on their faces. They are happy just flying a kite, or sitting down. Without doing anything. You realize that many of our concerns are not as momentous as we think.
How important is it for you to generate projects and conscious content at this time?
I now, more than ever believe it is important to be careful with the content that we generate and teach. There are times when it is difficult to distinguish between reality and fiction in networks. Everything we see conditions us directly or indirectly. This type of content makes us put our feet on the ground and be aware of the environmental problems we face.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to carry out a project like this
or want to focus your career on projects of this type?
I’m not the best one to give advice. I have been in the world of photography for a long time, but it is the first project of this type that I have done. If I had to say something, I would say that you should inform yourself well, let yourself soak up the culture, interact with people, empathize with them, try to understand and listen all points of view and finally contrast information.
What can we expect from you in the future and where can we see it?
I would love to be able to carry out more projects like this in the future. I also want to make a documentary. Who knows what will happen later. You can follow me on Instagram (@dcorrochano) or my website www.davidcorrochano.com.