Discovering Lelen Ruete’s parallel universe

Let’s have an interesting talk with an artist who knows how important it is to be meticulous and always maintain active creativity. She will kindly bring us in her fascinating and inspiring world. Tell me about your story. When did photography become an important part of your life? I was born an artist. I always knew I was going to be an artist and dreamt of becoming one, but I never actually planned on becoming a professional photographer. Without noticing, I always carried a camera with me, I bought my first one when I was 7 with some pocket money. This was the 90s and of course none of my friends had a camera or were interested on that. I spent a lot of time experimenting with it. I still keep those films and copies and remember what it felt like to imagine the final pictures and wait until I saved more money, and when my mother could take me to the store and finally develop them. My first film was about a tree I saw through my window, all the same photos with different lights to see what came out, and the second film was about dogs. So I actually had a concept that time, and from that moment on I keep on studying and learning.

How does the place you live in affect your work? This is a really good question because context is very important to photographers. I am Argentinian and moved to Uruguay 3 years ago. I was working only in fashion in my country, always in an artistic way, but when I came to Uruguay I found there is no market for that so there´s no way to make a living out of it. This country offered me the opportunity to start with Cannabis photography, since it is legal here and the industry is growing quickly, so my work in this field was very welcome. I got to know very kind and interesting people, learnt a whole lot about the plant and the industry, and I am now very happy to be working in this. I still work in fashion but found another theme that I am also passionate about. I think the key is to always be connected to all places and the beautiful thing of my work is that I can be everywhere and get to meet all kinds of people and places.

What inspires you the most? My head. Freedom to execute my photography. A nice work environment. My head because I live almost in a parallel universe. I see the world thinking of art and composition, so everything that has an interesting shape, texture or color will inspire me. And sometimes, flat stuff will also fly inside my head. Freedom to execute my work will always help. I am usually bored when clients won´t let me fly with my imagination or will ask me to do stuff that I don´t artistically agree with. But I am truly filled with ideas when I can propose or control the pieces of art, in other words when the clients trust me and let me be. I also work a lot on personal projects, this is always necessary to keep the creativity working. A nice work environment is key and I think all the artists need it. I am very expressive and tend to shout and celebrate in the middle of the shooting in order to motivate the team and myself. I need people who feel happy and inspired. And music.

What’s the most important aspect for you when you do your magic with the camera? (lightning, subjects..) Every detail is important. I need to be focused and I also ask the team to be focused too. I take time to make sure the lightning is perfect, the makeup or the product pose is perfect, and stop when I see things to correct. I don’t like working in the computer, I don’t like the retouching part, so I try to avoid it by working as perfectly as possible on set. The team is extremely important (sometimes even more than the product or subject itself). If we have a good team, we can do magic with anything. And the inspiration.

What do you try to express through your photography? It depends on the time of my life and project. I always have a concept, message or story behind every photo I am trying to express or show. It may be about art, about something that is going on, or just showing something that is interesting to me. I realize that my style changes a bit depending on the time of my life. But I always try to do things that are different than what anyone else is doing or has done; I try to innovate and I want my work to be about ideas and concepts, sending messages and showing stuff that goes on in my mind. @therabbitstudio