I usually cover Chavez and Venezuelan politics, but I also keep up with stories that have special colour, principally those that have a social impact.
I had no interest whatsoever in photography growing up; I studied geophysics. But one day in 2006 my partner at the time, who was interested in photography, said that she’d like to improve her skills by taking a course. I decided to join her simply because I had some free time. After that first class, I fell in love.
My first assignment as a photojournalist was for Reuters, covering an opposition march protesting against the closure of a television channel here in Venezuela. It was a huge march and there were many people holding placards, shouting. There was lots of colour - so much that I ended up confused and I was not able to fully appreciate the story. Despite this, it was a fascinating experience. The following day, I sat down with my editor and he explained why the photos didn’t quite work – I learnt then to focus my pictures much more.
The 2010 Haitian earthquake, without doubt, was the assignment that left the biggest mark on me. The work was intense; heart-breaking images were everywhere. At the beginning, it made me feel impotent seeing people suffer in that way. But the only way I could help was by doing my best to show the reality of what was happening; the only tool I had was a camera.
I’m always excited when I have the opportunity to cover social issues and I have time to get involved with the people that I photograph. To me, photography is an excuse to meet people, to live their lives and understand realities that I would never know otherwise.
I try to take photos that catch your attention for some time, images that are not easily forgotten.
My biggest lesson has been to understand the power of a good published image.
The first person that inspired me was Roberto Mata, a Venezuelan photographer known for running a major school here and for the work he has done in this country. He was also my first teacher.