Ova Hamer is an Argentinian photographer based in Buenos Aires. His series represented by ‘Out Of Focus’ is in his own words ‘primarily a result of the fascination of environments that are often overlooked in everyday life’. This time for our ‘Closer Look’ series, we explore Hamer’s work.
Ova doesn’t define himself as a photographer, but as ‘someone who takes pictures’. “I like to walk, and when I started doing photography, I had a lot of time because I was short on work. I used to work in the television industry as a production manager. It was a way to do something with my time; to walk and take pictures.”
Ova’s first camera was a Canon AE1 bought back in the 80’s. He was only involved in photography for about a year before he quiet and for a long time, he only took pictures on vacations and holidays.
“In 2008, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon A710. I opened an account on Flickr and found the chance to socialize with people with the same interest and to receive and give feedback very exciting. That made me go out and take pictures. At the beginning of 2009, I took part in the Sony World Photography Award, and I was a finalist in the Architecture Open Competition. That was a boost because I thought, mistakenly, that was an achievement. I mean, it’s very nice to get recognition in a contest, taking into consideration that it is just the opinion of one, two or ten people at a given moment. Other people would perhaps praise some other work. Six months or a year earlier, even the same people would maybe have given the award to other photographers. If you are aware of that, and if you don’t think you are better, it’s ok to take part in contests.”
In Ova’s case, taking part in photography contests helped him move forward. “At the end of 2010, I took part in the Street Photography Now Project, a web based one-year project about, of course, “street photography”. At that point, I did not even know what “street photography” was, but as my pictures were taken on the streets, I assumed that it was suitable. The project was organized by “The Photographers’ Gallery”, London and Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren, authors of Street Photography Now (Thames and Hudson). During one year, 52 renowned photographers such as Martin Parr, Joel Meyerowitz, Carolyn Drake, Trent Parke, Michael Wolf and Bruce Gilden “issued a new instruction, written to inspire fresh ways of looking at and documenting the world we all live in” and we, participants, had six days to respond to the instruction with an image taken during that week.”
“I don’t remember the exact figures, but I think that more than 500 photographers from all over the world submitted more than 15K photographs during that year, and it was and amazing and rewarding experience during which I learned a lot and, mainly, got in contact with a lot of wonderful photographers. I have later had the chance to meet some of them in person. After that year, I had knowledge of what street photography was about, and I fell in love with it. I think that project was my real beginning with photography.”
Hamer’s series of eight photographs represented for sale by ‘Out Of Focus’ explores the city of Buenos Aires. “I live downtown, and I always carry a camera, even when going to the grocery shop. I realized that you can find a picture anywhere and anytime.”
Ova doesn’t go out to take pictures, however. He goes for a walk, always looking for something to inspire him. Then he raises the camera and clicks. “As I spend most of my time in my neighborhood, that’s where I take the most pictures. Of course, if I travel abroad, I take pictures there, but this project is about my city and my neighborhood.”
“Most of the time, what I think is good is really crap. From time to time, I find something I like, but it is very difficult for me nowadays to find something in the street that surprises me in a good way. I’m at sort of an impasse in my street work - even when I take my camera with me, I don’t take too many pictures. At present time, my main subjects are my mother and my cat Gunther - I love to have found such lovable models.”
Hamer’s work remains for sale in a limited release on our website. Explore his series here.