To coincide with our current series of university photography degree shows here at The Strand Gallery, we talk to established photographer Lalo Borja on his roots, his style, and what teaching photography to budding enthusiasts means to him.
How long has photography been a part of your life? How did it turn in to a career?
Photography has been a big part of my life for nearly forty years, starting in Toronto, Canada, in early 1973.It became a career when I was lucky enough to find a job working as a reporter/photographer for a Spanish newspaper in 1975.
You are originally from Cali, Colombia, what brought you to the UK?
I married an English woman in Colombia, in 2000, having gone back to my hometown in 1995. She wanted to get back home to England in order to get her Diploma in Education, and I tagged along!
Has your photographic style changed much over the years or has it remained consistent? What is your favourite subject to photograph and why?
My style has changed very little in the past thirty or so years. I still enjoy doing street photography to this day. My favourite subject remains portraiture because it offers me the opportunity to explore expressions unique to human beings.
Your career has led you to become an A level photography teacher in Kent, do you feel that your students learn a lot from you and your experience as a professional photographer? Do you enjoy passing on your knowledge and skills to them?
Teaching young students is an enjoyable and sometimes difficult proposition. I do hope to continue influencing some of them to carry on this honourable profession. I feel a small number of them every year are inspired by the benefits and beauty it offers. That, in itself, is very rewarding.
What has been the highlight of your photographic career so far?
I would say that it had taken me a long time to find that the very early personal work, shot around 1975, still endures and remains of high quality to this day. That, for me, is a highlight and it makes me a great believer in intuition.
More of Lalo’s photographic work can be seen here.
Our current photography degree show, Peer can be seen at The Strand Gallery between the 25th and 29th of June.