Luna Lopez

Luna Lopez


Navigating the Intersection of Body Expression with Luna Lopez.

I use the medium to process and communicate an emotional state, that I otherwise can find hard to deal with.

In our exploration of Luna Lopezs artistic vision, we encountered a masterful navigation of the nuanced interplay between intimacy and violence. Luna gracefully unveils her creative process, illuminating the deliberate juxtaposition of contrasting elements within her photographs. Through her adept manipulation of these dichotomies, Luna invites viewers to engage in a profound reflection on the intricate layers of human emotion and experience.

Luna Lopez
Luna Lopez

To start, could you share with us where you are from and how your childhood experiences have shaped your approach to creativity and photography?

I was born and raised in Denmark, but I’m currently based in Sweden. I grew up in a creative home, so in a way I always knew that following that way was a possibility. I didn’t see my father often, but when he came to visit from Spain, he would bring a small camera with him. I didn’t give it much thought then, but after receiving his dv-tapes a few years back, I realized how it was a way for him to connect with me when language barriers and distance made it difficult. I’ve been reflecting a lot about this regarding my own practice, and how I myself started out using the camera to feel at ease in social situations. The camera is a machine that helps you engage with others, but it surely also hides you. I am trying to not only be observant through my camera but to also connect and be present with the person in front of the lens.

If I understand correctly, your mother is a dancer. Could you elaborate on how her profession has influenced your fascination with body expression?

Yes, that is correct. I grew up with my mom practicing at home and I was often brought to practices and dance performances. In that way, looking at people using their bodies to express emotions, is something I’ve carried with me from my upbringing. That being said, there are many other things in life that also have sparked an interest for body expression in me.

Fragility, whether its emotional, physical, or cultural, often leads to moments of vulnerability but can also pave the way for rebirth and resilience. How do you explore these themes of rebirth in your shots?

Absolutely, I believe that vulnerability goes hand in hand with great strength. Whether it’s the resilience or power from overcoming something, or the courage of showing your emotional landscape to others. For me, photography is very therapeutic. I use the medium to process and communicate an emotional state, that I otherwise can find hard to deal with. It becomes a way to grasp and transform what’s accumulating on the inside and bring it to the surface. If I struggle to find inspiration for an ongoing project, or if I see it taking a different turn, it’s often because I, for that time of being, have built a resilience towards the subject matter.

What inspires me most, is probably to just be observant and present, and trying to keep a childlike playfulness alive.

Luna Lopez

How has your artistic practice evolved from classic documentary photography to a more controlled and staged approach over time?

I started out exploring small communities that I wouldn’t have access to without my camera. This could be a ballet school, a group of people in a foreign country or a specific event. I would go there and photograph as a fly on the wall. Not giving any directions or planning before hand. In the end I started to wish for more engagement and connection with the people in front of the lens, so I began to stage my photographs. It became a way for me to have control of what I wanted to say with the images, in a manner that was more intentional.

When selecting your subjects, what criteria or considerations guide your choices?

I don’t really have any criteria - I wouldn’t say no to photographing anyone based on their looks. I think that there is something interesting or beautiful hidden in everyone, you just have to look for it. For a long time I only photographed females, not because I wanted to exclude men, but because I found myself feeling intimidated. Now I believe it to be around 50/50 gender wise, but I sure have a pattern of depicting the softer sides in men, haha. One thing that I can find hard, is to photograph people that are too aware of how they look and how to pose. It can take some time to break through that and catch a moment that feels authentic to me. I do like a good challenge though.

Luna Lopez
Luna Lopez

I believe that vulnerability goes hand in hand with great strength.

What sources of inspiration inform your photography, and how do they impact your creative process?

What inspires me most, is probably to just be observant and present, and trying to keep a childlike playfulness alive. I often have a little sketchbook with me, so if I see someone making an interesting gesture, sitting in a certain position or something else inspiring on my way, I try to draw it to use it later in my images. Besides that I really enjoy looking at paintings. I find artists such as Lucian Freud, Michaël Borremans, Issy Wood and Eric Fischl very inspiring.

The dynamic between intimacy and violence seems to play a significant role in your work. Could you discuss how you explore and portray this contrast?

I use a lot of contradictory elements to emphasize the contrast between hard and soft. When opposites collide, it creates an ambivalence in the images, a question mark in how to interpret and what to feel. For me, that’s a very powerful and exciting element. I don’t think that art should give answers, but rather make people speculate and wonder. I portray the contrast between intimacy and violence, or the calm and aggressive by using different techniques. The use of light, for example. Let’s say I point a direct flash on my subject - that’s already an aggressive act that leaves a rough appearance; then I combine it with something delicate, such as a facial expression, nudity, an object or the surrounding environment. At times, a single image doesn’t hold the contrast, but only contains one of the elements. A way to achieve the tension then, can be to unite different photographs side by side, for them to grow into something bigger than themselves.

Lets delve into your recent exhibition, Growing Silence. What does it signify for you to have your first solo show in Denmark?

Oh it was very important for me to finally touch base with the Danish art scene. I am in the process of moving back to Denmark, so I really hope to soon be able to establish myself more as an artist there.

In “Growing Silence”, your exploration of the human psyche is evident. Can you delve into how this theme is represented in your black and white darkroom works?

When I started working on the exhibition, someone dear to me passed away. It got me thinking a lot about the silence that is left behind, and how we handle grief and feelings of emptiness. The title “Growing Silence” refers to our inner lives, a withdrawal within ourselves, particularly as the everyday life becomes more complex and chaotic. Gestures such as blank expressions and an avoidance of eye contact, were a method for me to depict the mechanisms of a mental state. Creating a space for introspection and contemplation, the exhibition turned out to be visually more quiet than other recent works.

Looking ahead, what aspirations or plans do you have for your artistic practice?

At the moment I am preparing an exhibition that will open the 18th of May at 3:e Våningen in Gothenburg, and simultaneously cooking something exciting with designer Matilda Sundkler. As I mentioned before, moving to Denmark and getting into the art scene there, is something that I hope will happen in the near future. Besides that, I would love to collaborate with other artist too and work with more galleries outside of Scandinavia.