“Through My Eyes”

An Interview with the Costa Rican Photographer Sol Araya

With its amazing array of stunning landscapes, its amazing variety of flora and fauna and its signature pure life attitude, Costa Rica is, in many ways, a paradise. And for people like talented photographer Sol Araya, her tiny country is also canvas and paintbrush for her work. In it, she combines her love for the luscious Tico surroundings and her passion for her art with event photography in order to produce a delicate blend of people and nature.

TCRN: Hello Sol. Tell us a bit about your work.

Sol: What I do is to capture the scenic beauties of Costa Rica using photography and use them to showcase some special moments in our lives, such as weddings and other special occasions. I use landscape photography because through it you can capture images that at first glance cannot be perceived. My idea is to describe those unique moments that you want to share so that the images express more what meets the eye. Because l have to confess that wedding photographs are my other passion. I always strive to express in my pictures that special atmosphere that couples enjoy on such an important day of their lives and thus blend it with the natural environment, full of the magic and the unique beauty that only here in Costa Rica we can find.

TCRN: What poses do you use in your photographs?

Photographer Sol Araya posing with her dog

Sol: I always try to make people look natural. I use neither rigid nor very elaborate or acted poses. I tell my clients to relax and enjoy the moment in order to capture the emotions expressed by the people involved. The images should reflect an atmosphere of harmony, happiness and also be in balance with the place where we are making the shoot so that the result is a perdurable and creative portrait.

TCRN: What type of public do you work with?

Sol: I actually work with all kinds of public, young people, modern people, those who dare to do things differently wear different clothes and be themselves.

TCRN: How do the people you photograph come to you?

Sol: Most of my clients are referrals. They are recommended by friends and people I have previously taken photographs of. I think the best publicity is the one that is made by word of mouth.  Thus I have been able to photograph some well-known musicians from the Costa Rican scene (which is a part of my job that I love, because music is very important for me), like the Barva Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra. Each of them brings a special vibration and a particular environment that influence the sessions.

TCRN: And speaking of environments, as we all know, Costa Rica is a very privileged country because of its diversity of incredible landscapes for photography… Which has been that environment or landscape that has impacted you the most when it comes to making a photo shoot?

Sol: It is somewhat difficult to answer that question, but one of my favorite locations is the southern Caribbean. Here in my country, you have the jungle and the sea right next to each other. Places like Manzanillo, Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, Cocles, are wonderful for pictures. They each have different working conditions and are very demanding for a photographer. A very special place is Cahuita; the natural light and the atmosphere that surrounds it are totally unique. The sunsets there are majestic and the nights of full moon give you a lot of peace. It also has several nearby really nice beaches, This provides many diverse scenarios for the people to choose from. Another of my favorite places is San Rafael de Heredia. Here you find a forest type scenario with cypress and pine trees, the climate is cool and with a really spectacular view of the Central Valley as it is also in the Tyrol.

TCRN: Before doing any type of photo shoot, do you have any particular requirements for your patrons?

Sol: First, we carefully choose the place and type of photo shoot that we want. The way I see it, details like the type of wardrobe are extremely important. I advise people to wear bright colors especially in places surrounded by a lot of vegetation to get an excellent contrast with the colors of the natural surroundings. Also, l prefer them to wear clothes that express what the person is, and that makes them feel totally comfortable. Before starting I do some kind of relaxation exercises so that people feel happy and free when being photographed.

Wonderful vegetation in the national parks of Costa Rica

TCRN: Have you had the opportunity to participate or cover any type of event or festival such as “Envision” or “Ocaso Music Festival”?

Sol: No, but obviously that is something I’m looking forward to doing. There are also concerts and events like the October Fest that with their particular energy has influenced my pictures and I have loved every minute of it.

TCRN: Finally, how has photography itself influenced you?

Sol: I first started studying art several years ago, but when I “discovered” photography, I realized that I had found a way of expressing myself, one that changed my whole way of seeing everything around me. My mind opened. As I am not very outgoing, I use pictures as a means to express what I cannot say with words and l feel that my personality gets reflected in my images and highlights those everyday things that to most people do and usually go unnoticed.

Basic photography equipment

Of course, Costa Rica is the perfect venue. Its sunsets, its nights, the bright daylight are beautiful in themselves but they are also vehicles to express what I am feeling at a particular moment, whether l am doing landscape photos or photo shoots with people. Thus, l am able to share those feelings. All this, for me, is a very enriching experience. The late Gustavo Ceratti from Soda Stereo once said: “Why to believe in randomness if I was born for this?”… I just love this idea, because it applies very well to what I do. Indeed I feel that I was born for this.

TCRN: Thank you, Sol!

SOURCECharito Villegas
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