I have had an affinity with the visual arts since my earliest days; in fact, I vividly remember the first time my dad asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I answered immediately that I wanted to be a photographer. I focused on that goal from then on and my first opportunity came when I was a young man in Ecuador. A news director of a magazine approached me to photograph the daily life of people through my lens.
There, I began to understand the power of the images, the way a story could come alive when a series of shots were used to tell it and that further inspired me to pour my energies into my vocation. Later, I had the opportunity to photograph the dancers at the National Ballet in Quito where the art of moving images was interwoven into my photography; my imagination soared as I discovered new methods with which to work. Suddenly, photography itself could no longer support all that I dreamed of doing, with the addition of movement, film became a better medium and the documentary became the vehicle that would allow me to tell the story.
My first documentary was filmed in the Paramo of the Andes, a desolate place where many farmers live and work the land as best they can. Inspired by their strength and dignity and witnessing the hard life of peasants scratching out a living from the soil and their double exploitation as they tried to a find better future in the cities, we created Un Solo Camino, a 60-minute film. It was then that I began to devote myself completely and definitively to this new art, a new way of communication, where fully immersed I could weave the threads of – language, message, beauty and education in the camera lens. I offered to work on my colleague’s films to improve my sense of imagery, sound and lighting, learning and sharing the craft with different crews. Editing was the next big transformation and like the other strings I learned to play those notes as well. And finally, I also experienced the difficulties typically felt by the majority of my colleagues where funding is always tenuous and hard to attain, particularly for small creative projects.
Sample of Ricardo’s work.