Photographer Spotlight: JP Santamaria

In this Mirror’s Coffee Table section, we’re featuring the anthology called TurnOn Boys, a photo book celebrating young men. One of the photographers featured in the book is Juan Pablo Santamaria from Spain. We decided to catch up with the famed photographer and see what else he’s been up to.

bliboardSantamaria’s work is most known in the U.S. for his sexually charged billboards for Manhunt Mobile of two men almost kissing. His photos went viral after some parents raised hell after seeing the billboards.

“That photo caused a lot of controversy just because two guys are almost kissing on it,” Santamaria said. “I was at my home in Madrid and couldn't believe it!  It was so fun and exciting.”

Not everyone, though, thought the photos were fun and exciting.

The Huffington Post reported: “’It’s not the blatant porn-iness of the over-lit image, or that it is of two men. It would be equally annoying if it were hetero,’ said Kelly Cole, a self-described "liberal feminist" and mother of a fourth grader. ‘I know some would tell me to use the opportunity for an illuminating conversation. But I don’t need Manhunt Mobile to set my Important Talks Agenda. Our family really could have gone awhile longer without that particular conversation — and should’ve been able to do so.’”

What inspires your photography?

My biggest inspirations are my dreams and having fun. I don´t care if something is right or wrong. If it is masculine or not. As you can see, if you look my work, I don’t care just about the guys. I’m not into photos of hot guys with no message. There are many people doing that and honestly it’s really boring. My work is colorful, funny, sexual, artistic, ironic, fashionable…A bit of everything that can make you stop, think, and have a nice time while looking at a picture.

Why did you become a photographer?

I became a photographer after I got into fashion and graphic design and fell in love with it. Mixing the three of them I get more freedom to show my dreams and ideas to the world. I think the final connection with the public is faster and better with the photography. As I said, it’s not only about a nice model, people can see how you are through your pics, if they look deep inside of them it’s fascinating.

How did you get involved with TurnOn Boys?

I’ve already collaborated in another two books of Bruno Gmunder (TurnOn Muscles & Gear). It’s really nice to be part of these kinds of compilations and show your work off next to some of the best male photographers in the world.

watermellonFavorite photo(s) from the anthology and why?

Well I like a bit of everyone. The freeze guy and the guy with the watermelon are nice examples of my work and what I like.

Highlights of your career?

There are many! The success of the Manhunt Calendar during the past 3 years is really amazing. There are people from all over the world that recognize me and stop me on the streets, or that just write me to tell me they have my calendar on their walls and they like my job. That’s really nice and it means a lot for me!

But maybe the weirdest and most unbelievable thing was to see my Manhunt Mobile campaign pictures around the United States. They were featured twice in Times Square during Christmas.

What's next for you?

There are many things I still want to do. I would like to travel more and work outside Spain, keep working on nice pictures with new guys and backgrounds from all around the world. I’d like to work with famous people. I would also love to work more with the gay community to help in the fight for our rights worldwide and, of course, I would love to have my own book. Maybe is it too many things? LOL.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to invite everybody to join my Facebook page. If you would like to see more and interact with me, I’m always open to meet new people and ready for new projects!

To view more of Santamaria’s work visit:  www.facebook.com/jpsantamaria.photodesign

www.juanpablosantamaria.com


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