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Interview:

Herman Cater: "This award at the Festimatge means a lot to me".

Herman Cater and his wife at the Award Ceremony

The Slovenian photographer Herman Cater is the winner of the Torretes Award. With the satisfaction of having won at the Festimatge he talks about the meaning of his photos and his feelings about winning in Calella.


By: Àlex M. Franquet
Calella.


- Tell us about your background as a photographer.
- My father teached me to love photography, but I started more seriously in photography in 1996 when I got a digital camera. First, I was noticed as landscape photographer. I got some awards. In 2009 I met an old man in the mountains, in Slovenia. He was 80, he had 8 children but he was alone. It was a very old house. The house was not painted for years. Every wall had a different colour.

- In your photos that can be seen.
- Yes. I took photos of him during seven months and we became friends. But the winter was very bad, very cold and he was frozen. He wasn't able to make fire and he was frozen. It was a sad story but, in general, he lived happily.

- These photos explain a story of loneliness.
- In a way, yes. But the man was happy. These photos have a special message. These photos touch people's heart. Maybe unconsciously, but people have to think about how will they die. Will they be alone? Poor? Sick? The power of these photos it's there. To make you think about it.

- This man died happily?
- Yes, he died happily. But you'll never know. He was taken to the hospital when they found him frozen and he died there. His house was an hour to the nearest town, but he wanted to live there because the surroundings were beautiful. He lived there all of his live and he seemed to be happy, even if he was poor.

- The lights that you captured are very interesting.
- Being an old house, it had windows in every room. Every window gave a special light. I need only ten seconds to take some photos and sometimes I had light from two windows, from two different sides. Colours like the bright yellow… I didn't see that when I took the picture. I realized later. I only used Photoshop to correct the composition and to adjust some colours, but not much. It was like that. I prefer simple things. I don't like to use Photoshop like a way of producing photos. You have to be a photographer, not a designer. That's another field.

- Those photos have been very successful, not only in Calella.
- Yes, around the world. These photos have been successful in places like Abu Dabi, Tokio, Cyprus or Santa Barbara in the United States, Canada or Budapest.

- And what does this award at the Festimatge means to you?
- It means a lot. This award gave the opportunity to learn about Catalonia, about this beautiful country. I have met very good friends. People are very friendly and warm.

- We are very happy to have you at the Festimatge. In you personal life, you have been a fighter. You recovered from a critical illness.
- In 1995, I was paralyzed and in coma for 12 days. I was flying with a paraglider and a strange spider bitted me. I got a dangerous virus. It took me ten years to recover. This is why I am so happy to be alive and able to taking pictures. My daughter is handicapped and that was another reason to fight for.

- Let's talk about you country. You are a small country and independent. How are things in Slovenia?
- At the moment, the economy situation it is not the best, it is difficult. We have a population of two million people. We have a lot of unemployed people but I am confident. Slovenia is a very beautiful country, with sea, rivers, lakes and mountains. If you have the change of coming, you will enjoy it.

- Are you worried about Europe's future?
- It is a real danger. Anything can happen. Let's hope for the best. That's all we can do. We can't change the politics. Sometimes, I don't like to watch the news. I prefer to take my camera and to take some photos.

- Your country comes from a communist past. What would your father or your grandfather think of Slovenia if they could see it?
- My father would be very surprised to see what's Slovenia right now! Probably, this new capitalism it is not good at all. Sometimes, people say that the middle way it is the best. People are only thinking now in making profit and destroying everything. That is why I try and make photos of our landscapes. I want to tell that we have a beautiful Earth and we have to take care about it. We are connected with Nature. If we destroy Nature, people can not survive. This is my message in landscape photography.