Luxembourg Street Photo Festival: Joe Aguirre

by Maryline Dumotier and SoMuch Noise on 19.05.2020

A year ago, we were at the Luxembourg Street Photography Festival where we had the opportunity to meet Sabine Weiss, who has since made us regret our simple life. Today, the definition of “simple” takes on another meaning, it feels like nothing makes sense anymore. Despite everything, we have the pleasure, this year, to assist online to the Luxembourg Street Photography Festival, the Slide night, the Open Wall, conferences of talented photographers, and… the lock-down has good sides: to take time to ask a few questions to our guests.

  1. Today with our smartphones, we have all become street photo artists, what makes the difference? the technique, the material, the spontaneity, the purpose?

“I don’t see smartphones being anything different than a small point and shoot camera. Sure, it has given access to photography to more people, but I think that’s a good thing. I can’t possibly tell you what the difference is. I just know what I do, what I use and how I do it. No better or worse than others. If it helps you say something you need to say then that is a beautiful thing. Photography shouldn’t have limits on how many people have access. We all see we all express and we all come from a different vantage.

  1. Where, when, how, and why the choice for color or black and white is made?

Economy and darkroom access. Black and white has really been the only choice for me, although sometimes color film can be a nice departure.

  1. As in any other field, women are underrepresented – the man is takes the photo, the woman is on the photo – At the Luxembourg Street Photography Festival, you are four guests, four men. Do you think there is a “male gaze”, could your photos be taken by a woman?

I think there is a lack of representation in street photography, it lacks representation of women and people of color as well as other marginalized groups. At my gallery Sad Songs, we try to be very conscious of who we are showing and we try to be representative as best as our access allows. Sometimes it’s not about exclusion or under-representation. Sometimes you just give access to the people you have access to, but it’s not that hard to look around and see what’s missing and do some reaching out. If I knew there were no other panel guests besides male-identifying photographers I would have gladly given my spot up. I’m glad I can at least represent ethnic people in these events, but still, it isn’t enough for sure.
I don’t think anyone else is capable of making my photos because they are mine. My life, my relations, my access. That goes for me with others as well.

  1. The pandemic that is spreading right now has changed our lifestyles, has it changed your artistic vision? The forced idleness also sparked everyone’s creativity, what did it reveal to you?

I don’t slow down. I still make the same amount of photographs as I did before the pandemic. I am in the darkroom every day and I balance that out with a lot of other activities not surrounding photography. It’s not a contest, though. If you slow down because of this that’s fine and nothing wrong with taking time to survive.

  1. What was the last photo you took? Can we see it?
(c) Joe Aguirre

Thank you for having me, I hope my answers weren’t too lazy”

Joe Aguirre

Joe Aguirre (c) Andrew Scott

That’s it for this year’s coverage. See you Luxembourg Street Photo Festival!