For Inti Pachurin photography is far more than his day job – it’s what sets him free. He achieves his poignant and revealing portraits by setting out to capture his subjects within their natural environment.
It’s a given that the best photography always comes from the heart, and that’s exactly the way that Peruvian-born Humberto Carreno, better known by his chosen name of Inti Pachurin (Son of the Sun), has always operated. “I didn’t deliberately set out to become a photographer,” he confesses. “Rather I discovered that taking pictures set me free; it was my way of expressing my oppressions, complexes and the fears I had based around my ethnicity.”
Inti graduated in Communications in 1995 at the Universidad San Martin de Porres (USMP) in Lima, specialising in the visual arts field, and in 2001 he moved to New York, where he still resides. He studied at the International Center of Photography (ICP) and in 2003 became a member of the Seeing Photography Collective.
Specialising in environmental portraits, where the setting and the clothing worn tells you as much about the subjects as their faces, Inti’s photography is essentially a piece of visual storytelling. Before he presses the shutter he develops an unspoken understanding of the person standing in front of his camera. “I tell them that I’m there to capture their soul and heart,” he says. “I ask them to trust me and it becomes a teamwork situation.”
Most of Inti’s pictures are taken in the place where his subjects spend their time working or where they live, and by utilising natural surroundings where people feel at ease, more of the authentic ambience is captured. “My subjects would never come to my studio to be photographed,” he says. “I have to reach them; in most cases I travel thousands of miles and even though it doesn’t guarantee me a photo I’m happy to make that effort.
“I start off by introducing myself and then I explain what my project is about and show them some pictures from previous photo shoots. Once we have a mutual agreement we determine what location we’re going to use and the shoot progresses from there.”
One constant in Inti’s work over the past four years has been his use of Hasselblad cameras. He’s currently working with an H4D-40 together with HC 35mm, 50-110mm and HC 210mm lenses. “Moving from a 35mm system to Hasselblad medium format is a huge step up,” he says, “and the quality of the files I’m producing now means that even prints 64x44ins in size are still packed with incredible detail. The photos are close to how my eyes see the real world, while the True Focus System makes my job easier and allows me to concentrate on my subject.”