Promoting Las Vegas Arts & Culture

A Conversation with Heriberto Ibarra



By: Michael Humel


Culture of the Senses: I recently met with and interviewed Heriberto Ibarra after his successful Las Vegas debut event at  Raw Las Vegas at The Act nightclub, inside the Palazzo. Heriberto has multiple events coming up in the local Las Vegas arts scene.

Culture of the Senses: When did you start having an interest in photography?

Heriberto Ibarra: It started when I was twelve years old. The school teacher was a photographer. He would take us through the group shots. He would ask us to sort out the images for different groups. One time at the end of the day he  showed us one picture of a lady lying on the bed, dying and they take her last photograph. On the back of the headboard you could see the grim reaper. At that time being 12 years old it was filmed back in the days I didn’t know if it was was a trick or not and it got my attention to see things differently through the lens than in your own eyes. That’s what caught my motivation, it twisted my head.

Culture of the Senses: What inspires you during a photo shoot?

Heriberto Ibarra: What inspires me during a photo shoot?  It’s a blend of everything. It could be the textures, the music, the person around me that I’m shooting or the shape of the objects I’m shooting. It’s a blend of all things.

Culture of the Senses: Some people say photography is just point and click. What do you say to those people? What more goes into it?

Heriberto Ibarra: It’s no different than a sniper. You have to follow your prey, you have to follow what you’re going to be seeing in the back of your head. Whatever is in your frame you grab it and take it. It’s not just point and click. It might work for other photographers. You have to make sure everything is aligned with what your seeing in your frame in the back of your head and then grab it. You have to take that moment you don’t just shoot it. Take rapid shots play with it and click it.

Culture of the Senses: What style if your favorite kind of photography?

Heriberto Ibarra: Hyper modernist.

Culture of the Senses: Why?

Heriberto Ibarra: It’s my own style. It’s a little bit of everything. It’s not just one genre, it’s not landscape, portraits or wedding photography it’s a bit of everything. It doesn’t follow a specific genre for one specific person. Some people photograph one style or one technique. I try not to follow only one technique.

Culture of the Senses:  Do you prefer using black and white or color film?

Heriberto Ibarra: Ok, talking about film I would prefer black and white. In the digital era I will photograph in color because you can convert everything into black and white. It’s easier to find mistakes in black and white. When you photograph in color everything is hidden. If you photograph a person or scenario in color you can hide a lot of mistakes. In black and white you only have three tones to work with. It’s much more of a challenge to photograph in black and white.

Culture of the Senses: How important is it capturing a moment in time?

Heriberto Ibarra: It is very important. There is no difference from grabbing a meal where you’re sitting at the table. It’s a moment where you want to feed yourself with something.  It’s as important as buying a vinyl. When you buy a vinyl you start listening to it. It’s me carrying my cross so its very important with every detail that I see, that I want to capture. I think it’s important.

Culture of the Senses:  Do you ever use distortion or tricks to change the way your pictures look?

Heriberto Ibarra: Yes definitely. The reason I sometimes play with photo shop or a filter is because you see a different twist to the same photo. Some photographers think using photo shop is not a good thing and other photographers think it’s the greatest thing. It’s no different from being in the darkroom or being in front of a computer. It’s the same thing. When you have an image as long as you don’t lose the style or the touch that you can create within an image it’s ok to do and yes I have done it, It’s a matter of playing with colors, sharpness contrast and tones. Using the analogy of food if you eat a steak or salad and then use a different dressing it gives you a different flavor and it’s still the same thing. It has to do with part of the composition of an image and to experiment.

Culture of the Senses:  When you are working with people is it difficult to get the emotions or look required for the pictures?

Heriberto Ibarra: Not at all, not at all. Some of my background is within psychology. I like to talk to people. When you start talking to people you start finding out what they like what they do and you go towards that direction. You need to make them feel comfortable so they give you the expression you need and they will appreciate it once they see the picture. So it’s not difficult at all.

Culture of the Senses: Do you have a favorite scene or image that you like taking pictures of the most?

Heriberto Ibarra: Absolutely one would be women and the other would be automotive.

Culture of the Senses: What are your next shows in Las Vegas?

Heriberto Ibarra:  At this moment I’m getting ready to do a group showcase at Blackbird Studios this coming First Friday at The Arts District, the name of the Exhibit is “The Greatest Show in The World”, the exhibit is inspired in the 1920’s – 1950’s circus, freak shows and carnivals and I’m really happy to be part of it. I’m also working on an exhibit for Sin City Gallery inside The Arts Factory, the name of my exhibit will be “Sleeping Beauties”, and it will be about one of my personal passions… But I’ll give more details as soon as the press release comes out.

Culture of the Senses: You do a lot of traveling because of your photography, right?

Heriberto Ibarra: The world is my studio, like someone dear to my heart says “God made the world round, so we can go around it”


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