KT: How did you get into photography? When/what was your first encounter with photography?

LMP: My encounter with photography started at a very young age (10 years). I began using the camera to capture things that were impossible to obtain. Like for example if I saw a car I liked, I would take a picture of it, and keep it for myself. I guess that I was using photography as a tool in order to control my sense of possession. Years later, it became my main medium to create.

KT: You have published 8 books/catalogues in last 22 years including your recent book ‘ Testimonies of Corruption: A visual contribution to Venezuela’s fraudulent banking history’. What do you like about photography in a book format?

LMP: The photobook format: it’s a very useful, practical, economical and powerful way of presenting any photographic series. It’s the medium that it is located between photography and cinema. I believe in the saying that “if it’s not published, it doesn’t exist”. Also the importance of working in a book format is to understand the level of collaboration that exists between the author, designer, text and the publishing house.

KT: With an introductory essay “This is all fucked up” by Luisa Leticia Rangel, your recent photobook presents a very powerful visual presentation about the collapse of economy and failed banking system in Venezuela. What made you initiate this project in the first place?

LMP: From 2007 to 2014, I began photographing all the abandoned bank facades that had gone bankrupt due to high level of corruption which has culturally existed in Venezuela. The whole process of collecting an inventory of facades of so called “trusted” institutions that were disappearing from the city landscape, was like a fascination, with the ephemeral landscape and the urban archaeology.

In 2011, I produced the body of work of the bankrupt piggy banks, showing the irony of these object design, specially dedicated for the kids. Later in 2016, I got shortlisted for a grant from the Magnum Foundation in order to produce ‘Testimonies of Corruption’ but did not win it. Luckily in 2017, Ramon Reverté from EditoriaI RM (Mexico City-Barcelona) offered me an opportunity to publish these compilation of series, designed by Ricardo Baez.

I wanted to have the text that was more informative in nature and written by an economist instead of having a very intellectualised text which would have been hard to understand.

KT: Your photography has always included the investigative approach which deals with the ‘Abuse of Power’ in an artistic way. What is your fascination with the kind of work you do?

LMP: Investigative approach has always been present in my work, the art to provoke or to criticise in an indirect way: from the soap opera TV studios, to Euro-Disney landscapes, to narco-architecture, to Chelsea art galleries, to fraudulent institutions and so on, including the notion of exploring the limits of what’s art and what’s not. Irony, romanticism and honesty are elements that should always be present in contemporary art.

KT: Your work has been exhibited all over the world and is part of some important museum collections too. What do you do you want to achieve with your photography in the end?

LMP: I would like to leave a representative testimony of my work, like many other people, and the best way to be preserved are through publications and the museums’ collections.

Images©Luis Molina-Pantin