Interview | Enrique Leyva
Could you introduce yourself, your background, where you live, and where you’re from?
My name is Enrique Leyva, sometimes people call me “Kike." I am 24 years old and I was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is known as the most cultural state in México, then I moved to Puebla City where I studied Industrial Design. That is something not a lot of people know about me.
Describe your journey as a photographer.
My love for photography started when I was 16 years old. When I was in my last year of high school, My mother bought me my first semi-professional camera (a Kodak ) and I didn't know how to use it. I remember my friend from high school taught me how to use it with the principal manual functions and after that, I started to experiment in my house and in the streets. I also took several courses of analog and documentary photography during my last days of high school.
I have a lot of documentary work and my first photos on Instagram were about that style. When I moved to Puebla, I bought my first professional camera (Canon t4i) and I started to photograph friends, random people, and family. It was so difficult for me because I didn't like the common situations. I liked to play with the shadows, lines, and color on walls and also with the body expression. Then, something amazing happened- when I started to use Instagram more, I was able to see really amazing Fashion Photography from Los Angeles. I remember the first photographer I followed and everyday, I would analyze their work. My first work was with my friends that modeled for me. When I was 21 I won a photography contest for fashion brands. People started to contact me for local photo shoots. So I thought I was going in the right way, and from that moment, I started to do a lot of photography contacting models or friends. I would create concepts and looked for girls with cool style- different from the normal.
What camera do you prefer to use for portraits?
I have been doing some workshops that help me get better day by day. I use a Canon 70D camera for my photography and my two lenses for my portrait photography. One of them is a 18-135 mm and the other is a 16 mm.
What inspired you to pursue portrait photography? What is your biggest source of inspiration?
I started to do portrait photography because I found something special in the body's behavior. For my first “fashion” portrait I did, I guided the models to do movements and specific positions and tried to approach their skills. For example, if she practices ballet, I capture her movements. I also like how the clothes made different textures by itself.
Little by little, I have been looking through Instagram and I have found a lot of important photographers from different parts of the world, but I remember one in specific, “@andymadeleine_” He inspired me to try random positions, random places, and playing with the warm light. I spent a lot of time looking at his feed.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I define my aesthetic like “un common”. Nowadays on Instagram, a lot of photographers are doing the same kind of photography as me but the difference is the place- because where I was born and where I live, many photographers don't take the risk to do this kind of photography. I have only found a few photographers that try to innovate in the same style.