Its base has been Mexico for the past 20 years. Your first impulse when something happens is to go outside to document it with your camera. The photojournalist Ronaldo Schemidt (Caracas, 1971) takes the profession inside. He has traveled throughout Latin America immortalizing the most important events in the region such as the recent earthquakes in Mexico, the end of the Fidel Castro era and the crisis in Venezuela, his country, which lives with concern. The photo of a young man engulfed in flames during the violent protests against the Government of Nicolás Maduro in 2017 he won the World Press Photo award. A very powerful image that has its own history, but that has not lost a bit of topicality.
He still has family in Venezuela, when he sees what is happening and remembers the photo. What do you think?
My country urgently needs a process of social pacification
The political situation is increasingly complicated. Even though the photo was taken in 2017, it is still super-vigilant with what happens there. But the scene of violence so strong is a separate memory for me, to see that a person burned in that way is different.
When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I was studying Anthropology in Venezuela, but when I came to Mexico I started studying photography and as soon as I started I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist.
Why? What was it that caught him?
Precisely for what I do now. Tell stories. Be a kind of witness of what happens. Be there and tell what happens.
When I was little I wanted to be …
I spent several stages like all children, I wanted to study Medicine, then Marine Biology …
Who have been your influences?
My influences have been quite close, in the University I saw the work of great Pulitzer prizes, World Press … There are many, like [Sebastião] Salgado and then I have colleagues who are great professionals, who inspire you by their vision, by their way of doing things, not only have to be the great masters. You see young people with good ideas, with energy and all that enriches you.
What is it to be a photojournalist for you?
For me it is almost everything. It's my life, beyond my family, it fills everything.
There are times when you have trouble keeping the camera, but you know that you have to keep
In your opinion, what are the prizes for?
In the case of freelance so that his name is known. For photographers from news agencies like me, who work for AFP, I see it more as an acknowledgment of the effort, the daily work and especially the professional photojournalism that has been so bad lately.
Favorite place in the world?
Everyone. I could not say one. I like to be with people, it seems selfish to point out a place. Venezuela, Madrid, Chile, Argentina … wherever I go, I feel good.
Where would not you like to live?
More than a place, a place where there was racism, xenophobia … this environment.
Regarding your work, what are you most proud of?
Of having been constant and not having deviated on the road.
Are there any pictures that you would like to have taken?
There are many, I would like to go to the Middle East, to Africa where there are impressive stories. I imagine there will be millions of photos that I have not taken, but I always want to continue.
Any photo that struck you especially take?
We photographers do not like violence, where you see children suffering, where people have a hard time. We do not like it even though it's our job. I do not like to see tragedies.
If I could acquire a photograph, what would it be?
I do not have one in particular. Surely it would be a landscape that when seeing it in my house it transmitted peace and tranquility to me.
What leaves you without sleep?
Right now Venezuela … Having so much contact with the news, that takes away your sleep.
When did you cry for the last time?
I do not know, but working many times there are situations in which it is difficult for you to keep the camera, it becomes a knot, but you know that you have to continue.
What is the best advice given by one of your parents?
Several, but maybe being the best possible in what you do. Work with professionalism, with responsibility, with rectitude and be honest.
The best gift he has received?
Sometimes something small has more sentimental value, which is important.
Any place that inspires you?
The sea, definitely.
Who would you like to stay trapped in an elevator with?
Someone calm with whom we could find a solution.
What would you say to Nicolás Maduro if he had it in front of you?
Think about the country. I hope there is a peaceful exit. Venezuela does not tolerate more violence and I do not speak of violence as in the demonstrations of 2017, but in the political discourse, the treatment in the street … Venezuela urgently needs a process of social pacification; think of something else, grow, develop.
And the new president of Mexico, Manuel Andrés López Obrador?
That has a great opportunity, there is great value in this country, there is an impressive young force, very good people who love Mexico. This is close to taking a leap for the better.