MEET PAULA CODOÑER
Paula Codoñer Muñoz hails from sunny Valencia and is a film photographer and the CEO and co-founder of Malvarrosa Film Lab. Her dreamscape flower photography captured in blurred compositions is raw and honest, conveying the utter simplicity and beauty of the botanical world.
“It’s a visual module exploring the relationship between forms and colors where the only function of the photographer is to have fun and draw visual pleasure from the observer,” explains Codoñer Muñoz.
Her works have made numerous exhibition rounds, including Soif Sauvage at Kunsthaus KuLe Berlin, Cuba12 at Espai Creatiu Valencia, Palm Photo Prize exhibition at The Print Gallery London and ThroughFIUERLens at Ineditad Virtual Art Gallery.
She also joined forces with Handshake to publish the book A Rainbow Full of Flowers, which is an intimate exploration through the spectrum of nature’s beauty resolving into a curated selection of photographs that work both as a photobook and a poster collection.
Qompendium: Your work so far has been staged around flowers and jewellery, tell us more about that.
Paula: Yes! I love to photograph flowers, I love their colors and different shapes and I like to play with textures, colors and movement. For commissioned photography projects (like some brand jewellery) I also like to use flowers as props and join the two worlds.
Qompendium: What is easier, working on a set with people or being on your own with objects?
Paula: For me it works better to work on my own as my sets aren’t difficult to arrange and I feel more relaxed and comfortable alone. But I would love to start working with set designers, floral stylists or prop stylists.
Qompendium: Yes, sometimes the most simple settings are the most complex ones, where the creator needs no one else but herself and the camera.
Qompendium: Give us the nitty gritty, what cameras and lenses do you use?
Paula: I use Nikon f4 with 50mm and Fuji Superia 400. Pentax 67 with 115mm and Portra 400 also make the rounds. I sometimes use macro lenses.
Qompendium: If you were a photography teacher how would you advise your students?
Paula: I would say have fun, experiment and take a lot of photos.
Qompendium: How did you get into photography?
Paula: I do not remember when I first became interested in photography. I remember being very young and taking my parents’ camera and since then, I just kept taking photos and learning.
Qompendium: Any movie making?
Paula: Sometimes I take 10-second videos of the flower I’m shooting, but nothing serious.
Qompendium: Which other photographers do you like, especially from your generation?
Paula: I really don’t know if they are from my generation, but some photographers that I really like are Doan Ly, Cho Gi Seok and Lina Scheynius.
Qompendium: We will check them all. Do you want to share a picture of your favorites?
We know Doan.
Qompendium: Describe your dream project. What would you like to do in life, and what’s on your bucket list so to say?
Paula: I would love to learn more about floral styling and to work for a handful of perfume brands like Loewe or Gucci. Those are my big dreams, but my ideal dream project is not to work anymore and to just shoot personal projects.
Qompendium: Tell us more about your personal projects.
Paula: My main personal project is flower photography. It’s an intimate exploration through the spectrum of nature’s beauty resolving into a photographic exercise of color and composition that mixes technique and improvisation.
It’s a visual module exploring the relationship between forms and colors where the only function of the photographer is to have fun and draw visual pleasure from the observer.
This series is a careful selection of photographic work from an ongoing project that took place over the course of 3 years.
The images have a bold, minimalistic and colorful look with a painterly appearance, which lends coherence to the project.
Qompendium: Give us more insight into your work process.
Paula: If it’s a personal project, I don’t prepare too much. I buy some flowers and later decide on the background color and finally I get fun and improvise. If it is commissioned work, it’s different. I make a moodboard taking care of the needs of the brand and prepare the photo session before. I love to improvise and experiment later.
Qompendium: How did the green series come into being? Are the green flowers personal?
Paula: Some are personal and some are commissioned. I always loved taking pictures, especially of flowers. When the guys over at Handshake – all graphic and editorial designers – wrote me to design a photobook, we printed all of my pictures to make a selection. Except we later realized that we needed more photos and cohesion.
The main theme was colors, so we decided to shoot flowers with backgrounds from the entire rainbow spectrum. From there, I shot some of the green series flowers. You can check the second edition of the photobook: “A Rainbow Full of Flowers” on Handshake’s site.
Some of the other green series were shot for a bag brand that needed Christmas flower postcards. I used green, red and beige tones for the project.
Qompendium: How do you create your blurry masterpieces?
Paula: They’re all created with low speed shutter at 1/15 1/30 1/60.
Qompendium: Are you inspired by any artist from the past?
Paula: Linda Mccartney would be a top pick for me.
Qompendium: What do you prefer: analogue or digital?
Paula: I love the analogue workflow. It’s more relaxed and meditated. I also love the final results – the texture and the colors of film are amazing. You can check out the work of the lab where I work, Malvarrosa Film Lab.