Álvaro Cárdenas is a photographer based in Guadalajara, Mexico, focus on landscape and nature photography. His favorite compositions are those that include mountains, water, and hidden natural gems. He loves looking for exotic and uncommon places that offer him a chance to make new and creative compositions.
"I try to make my projects in northern countries such as Denmark, Norway, Faroe Islands, and Iceland, I'm really into solitude compositions and extravagant landscapes that those countries may offer."
He's trying to portray his country’s natural beauty as well. He wants to show the world that there’s more to Mexico than pyramids and beautiful beaches; "We have tons of natural gems that are so underrated and are waiting to be captured and shown from another point of view."
What’s your background? Does it influence your artwork? (childhood, where you live or were raised)
I think that how we feel about life and what we think about it influences our artwork in a very significant way; I have lived my whole life in Guadalajara, a big chaotic city. I see my artwork as an escape from the ordinary, the routine, the chaos, work, and stress; an escape to the extraordinary.
What was the strongest influence you had when you were growing up (artists, movies, cartoons, comics, etc.)? When did your love for photography first begin?
I didn’t start on photography until a couple of years ago. It all started when I was in Iceland in 2018. I just had my cell phone back then. It was such a magical and beautiful experience that I wanted to become one with the place (hard to explain), to extract the very essence of such amazing and breathtaking natural wonders. So I realized that a cell phone wasn’t enough, at least not enough to immortalize the very essence of such amazing wonders.
The movie that inspired me a lot to become a photographer was Prometheus by Ridley Scott (not the whole movie of course) the intro sequence is just beautiful and I tought for several years that it was made on the computer. Later on, I learned that it was Iceland. I couldn’t believe that such outstanding landscapes were real, so I decided to go to Iceland.
I admire photographers such as Paul Watson, Pepe Soho, and Peter Lik. Even though their styles are different, they inspire me to achieve perfection through photography. Also, there’s a character portrayed by Sean Penn named Seann O’Connell in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I find that character very inspiring because it symbolizes our constant seek for freedom, adventure, and outstanding experiences.
What inspires you?
Nature itself. I find peace, harmony, happiness, freedom, and cheerfulness while being in nature, which inspires me to feel the beauty in it and capture it. I believe Human beings are just another species that was taken away from their natural habitat, so that’s why while living in the city and having very demanding jobs make our life so stressful. There’s no harmony or balance in our lives.
Another thing that inspires me is showing people the infinite beauty of our planet and how extraordinary it can be. I want them to feel what I felt when I was there taking the picture, I want to share the beauty of the world. We are very ignorant about how amazing and incredible our world is. I want people to dare to discover their own world.
How did you develop your photography style?
I discovered that what inspires me the most about nature is the solitude of distant places, such as Iceland, Greenland, Lofoten, Faroe Islands, etc. So I decided to focus and develop my work towards places where the presence of mankind is not so visible. I love water compositions as well. The photos that I like the most are those where water is the protagonist; I think it gives the viewer a sensation of both energy and peace.
What is (one of) the most eye-opening photo projects you’ve covered?
Alaska. I wasn’t very optimistic about that project, but it was the only place that I could travel to due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though I wasn't sure that I was going to get the results and shots that I wanted, in the end, I really fell in love with Alaska and with the results I achieved while being there. I was very satisfied with my work.
I believe that every part of nature is beautiful, we just have to be creative enough in order to capture that beauty and make it outstanding.
What do you like most about photography?
The chance to immortalize the most magical and beautiful moments. Looking back at my photos always brings me the memory of the exact moment when I took it, so it makes me remember how I was feeling, how the weather was, and what I was thinking while being there. When posting or showing my photos I try to transmit those feelings to the viewers.
What is your craziest idea for your dream job?
Being able to focus all my time and energy towards capturing the most amazing scenarios and moments from all over the world, to give people inspiration about how beautiful and extraordinary Nature is, so we can do a better job when it comes to taking care of our planet and being more conscious about climate change.
What's your favorite movie and why?
Interstellar. The movie script, plot, and score are simply beautiful. Making a very scientifically accurate movie exciting and emotional at the same time is a big accomplishment. I love how the score and the plot develop perfectly along with the whole movie, it wakes a lot of feelings within me.
What's your favorite city and why?
This is a difficult one… Mexico City is amazing. It has stunning architecture, beautiful parks, museums, and a huge restaurant scene. But the thing I love the most about it is Paseo de la Reforma. It is the most beautiful avenue I have ever seen and I dare to say is the most beautiful in the world!
I would add Seydisfjordur and Reykjavik as well, being surrounded by mountains and peace and civilization at the same time is an amazing experience of balance. Those cities are perfect examples of how mankind should be interacting with nature.
Where would you like to travel next?
I’m traveling to Iceland in October 2021 for a second time. But I hope to be in Greenland or Svalbard soon. I have an eye on Oregon too.
Follow Álvaro on Instagram: @alvaro.cardenas.photography