Can you imagine learning with a photographer who has portrayed important Hollywood stars? At the IED Madrid it is possible, as Ramón Palacios-Pelletier is the new director of the Postgraduate Course in Advertising and Editorial Photography.
Ramon is an American photographer who studied in San Francisco and trained in New York assisting photographers such as Mark Seliger and Max Vadukul. Ramón specialises in portraiture and editorial work. His work includes famous actors, writers, musicians and models.
His work has been published in a range of media, both national and international, and has made album covers for Universal Records, Mercury Records, Sony/BMG and EMI Records. It is worth noting, among this latest work, the promotional photographs for the film Tarde para la ira, which won the Goya award to best film (2017).
At present, he lives in Madrid and comes to IED Master with the aim of conveying to the students his vision of the art of photography, to turn them into thinking photographers. Would you like to know more? Let’s speak with him.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I remember when I was in high school in suburbia, outside of Chicago, my mother brought home a special issue of Life Magazine. It was the decade’s best photographs. Quite the special issue! This was in 1990. I looked through it and kept looking through it for a few months. After that I pretty much knew I wanted to be a photographer. It was the emotion in the photographs that got to me. And from the very beginning I knew emotional impact was what I wanted in my work.
Which characteristics or requirements are necessary in a good advertising photograph?
I think in today’s advertising world a photographer must possess a very strong and distinct personal vision. A very intelligent way of looking at the world. And a solid knowledge of the craft that goes into making images. Besides that it is also very important to have the ability to take a concept or idea and to make it into a reality.
As the new course director, what do you want to convey to your students?
There are a lot of things I want the students to get out of my course. I think to sum it up I could say that I want my students to become thinking photographers.
I want them to understand that in their photographs there must be intelligence. I try to teach them the importance of being precise in everything they do. From planning their shoots, to taking their pictures and right through to editing them. Precision must be present throughout. I also want them to understand what photography is. It is not just an image on a screen. It is an object. A material thing. And for that material thing to be of any value there must be craft. A solid mastery of craft. I also like to keep in mind each of my students’ individual visions and tailor my assignments so that each student can pursue their own vision.
I also think it is extremely important for the students to understand the importance of photography, now and in the past. This is done through looking at the history of photography. Looking at the master pieces of photography one can gain a powerful understanding of just how challenging it is to call oneself a photographer. A respect towards the power of photography is very important for students.
Who would you recommend take the Postgraduate Course in Advertising and Editorial Photography?
I would recommend this course to anyone who has been shooting for a few years and is confident in their abilities and are looking to advance their vision, their craft and their overall concept of what being a photographer means. All through the perspective of the worlds of editorial and advertising photography.
Photo credits: Ramon Palacios-Pelletier