Josette asked Raúl a few questions
What is your background?
Since I was very young I have been fascinated with photographing all types of things, I used to spend hours playing with my camera and my father’s super8. I still love photography as if I were a child, because it is something magical to me. I grew up in a town outside of Barcelona and I studied technical courses that never really interested me. I don’t have any academic training in photography, all the technique I have I learnt on my own. With every shot I learn something new.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything around me, my friends, my family, my city, what I read, where I travel, definitely everything that happens in my life. Aside from this I am inspired greatly by the films of Dreyer, Bergman, Léos Carax, Wong Kar Wai, Pasolini, Wim Wenders and so many others… Also there are many great photographers who inspire me, Bruce Weber, Alice Springs, David Armstrong, Robert Mapplethorpe, Hedy Slimane, Derek Ridgers, Larry Clark and I am always discovering more. I spend hours and hours with books of photography.
How has your work evolved since you started?
My work has evolved technically… Now when I see photos that I took a few years ago I see myself in them but with a less developed technique.
Which work of yours is a good introduction?
Right now a good letter of introduction would be my series “Youth in Trouble”, a series of portraits of young people depicting them in a melancholic and poetic way.
Are there recurring themes?
I love to photograph young guys and girls. Showing their rebellious and melancholic sides. I also like abandoned places and I love to juxtapose these two things. They can complement and accentuate each other.
Why do you prefer to shoot analog/film only and with natural light?
I love the whole process in analog, from deciding what to photograph, choosing and buying the rolls of film, thinking of a good location, deciding the best time of day for the light that I want, to shoot, I love the sound of the film rewinding at the end of the roll, developing and seeing the results. Analog photos always have a poetic and unique side for me. I love natural light because it is not something prepared and you always have to improvise; depending on the light you have some results or others, that always makes my work different. I feel photography this way. I tried to shoot digital… I didn’t like it. It is too fast and there is no magic for me. Analog is less predictable but at the same time taking less shots forces you to be more disciplined.
In one of your projects, you reference Larry Clark, can you tell us about his influence on your work and what drew you to his photography?
Larry Clark has always been an inspiration for me, since seeing his film Kids and his legendary book Tulsa. He captures young people in a raw and natural way. More real than the glossy, Hollywood romantic representations. I strive for this rawness and truth in my work. A few years ago, my artistic associate Eduardo Gion and I started an internet magazine called wearemonsterstar. One of the first people we had the honor to interview was Larry Clark. At the time I thought it would be beautiful to do a tribute to him with my photos. That is how my tribute series came about.
How do you stay motivated?
Do you always have a plan?
I never have a plan. I love to improvise!
Who/what would you travel to see?
I would love to return to the Australian desert and to be able to do portraits of the aboriginal people and their dream time stories. I would also like to go to Mexico to the Zapoteca region to do portraits of the Muxe people who are born men, but assume totally female roles.
How do you deal with judgement and criticism?
Criticism doesn’t have to be something negative. I always try to take it as something positive. I greatly value the opinion of others, but what matters more to me is to believe in what I do.
Who will you thank when you receive an award?
My little dog Pablo! And all the people who have supported me and respected what I do.