Luís Miguel Flores ha escrito un artículo sobre la fotografía musical para una revista inglesa SPN. Los que tengaís Ipad podeís descargarla aquí https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/spn/id734800717?mt=8 para ver la galería y las fotos. Siempre es de agradecer que cuenten con un montón de buenos fotógrafos y que se hable de nuestro trabajo, se agradece el esfuerzo. Espero que os guste el artículo.
Spanish Rock Photography: The Sound of Flash
Even though the Spanish music industry is one of the sectors most hardly hit by the economic crisis and what have you, our rock photographers seem to be on fire these days. It has become a labour of love in most cases, but even though there may be little or no money, there seems to be no shortage creativity-wise.
Searching for the perfect rock-concert photo is tough. You have 5 to 10 minutes to steal a soul. You need to balance the dynamics of the show with the intensity of a portrait. Then, a professional photographer has to fight not only his avid peers, but also all of us crazy instagramers and smartphone-bearers. “Never mind the hardware, a true photographer still lives in the eye and the finger”. So says one of today’s prominent concert-guerrilla shooters, Alfredo Arias. He´s worked for most Spanish rock magazines and has a few cover-shots under his wing. He captured Skin, the singer from Skunk Anansie, in what we could call a spectacular “concert-portrait”, his specialty. Is it a stage... or a studio?
Oscar García understands photography in a similar way and looks for “honest images, devoid of artificialness”. He works mainly in Spain but also for some British and American music magazines. He captured another British lady, Anna Calvi, in a joyful but very deep note. Self-taught Juan Pérez-Fajardo, also a musician and a 3D artist, is all about the moment. “I follow and learn the musician’s moves for a while until I understand it’s the perfect time to shoot”. His amazing AC/DC’s Angus Young picture –which hangs in the walls of Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Café, by the way- proves that point.
Óscar, Alfredo and Juan are still young, but even younger spanish photographers like Sergio Albert and Salomé Sagüillo (also a painter) have yet a different approach. They are both true Madrid’s underground creatures. And that shows in a somewhat uncommon and twisted approach. Sergio shot desert bluesmen Tinariwen from an almost surreal concertgoer’s perspective. Salomé captured ex-Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon from the floor: we can’t see her face but we feel her intensity.
More views: Maite Nieto is quite unique, as you can see in her close-up of Slipknot’s singer. He might be wearing a mask... but the picture is far from inexpressive. Actually, working at this show is “what made (her) decide what (she) wanted from photography”. And she has quite a future, like Mariano Regidor, who captures the blood sweat and... Smoke of the live experience of Andalusian garage-blues heroes Gualupe Plata. Nacho B Sola, likewise, portrays Madrid’s band Havalina in a fiery motion. More recent names, lest we forget: Javier Salas, Marta Pich, Iñaki Campos, Tom Hagen, Javier de Agustín, Antonio Alai, Jorge Ontalva, Nathalie Paco, Lorena Watt, Alfredo Rodríguez... The list is long and succulent.
The “live experience” might be synonymous with rock, but somebody has to do the album covers. Most of the above mentioned have worked for promotional and magazine shots, but Jerónimo Álvarez (songwriter Javier Alvarez’s brother, whose picture for his “Grandes éxitos” is a must) may well be the referent. He has a unique, totally recognizable style and he snugly fits his subjects into this “minimalist search for the crucial instant, the naked portrait”.
Just before these 21st Century photographers came an intermediate step to the “classics” in professionals like Jordi Vidal who, after 25 years in the business –as photographer and musician- feels he’s going “back to the roots, blending with the band and the audience” and, what’s more, “being saved by rock and roll once more”. In his picture of Elliott Brood he just seems part of the band. Meanwhile Xavier Mercadé, a veteran with nearly 30 years in photography, gives us the definitive impression of the techno-turned-stadium-rock icon Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode. And adds: “muscle, strength, passion and assurance”. Blanca del Amo has photographed the whole Malasaña musical scene of the 90s and has a deep knowledge of that Madrid’s barrio nightlife –she owns a bar-, but offers a chilling and recent black and white stage portrait of Leonard Cohen in Benicassim.
All of them are the sons and daughters of photographers such as Miguel Trillo, Alberto García-Alix and Mariví Ibarrola: three great “painters” of known and unknown faces of the “Movida”, artists, true rockers, all-nighters and insiders of the turbulent 80’s in Madrid. Or Domingo J Casas, a recurring and emphatic presence in pits and backstages since the late 70s, known for being in the right place at the right time and befriending ultimate rock stars such as Keith Richards. We see him in a double picture: posing and onstage. Domingo grew fascinated with the Stones and finally met Keith in 1991: “what was said and done only we know, but in the picture you can feel our complicity”. And then, we can’t forget other photographers who started in the 80’s or early 90’s like David Calle, Liberto Peiró Juanlu Vela...
But this journey has to end -or begin- with Mario Pacheco. He died in 2010. Record producer, owner of Nuevos Medios label and main conspirator behind the “jóvenes flamencos” revolution, he shot the cover for Camarón’s masterpiece “La leyenda del tiempo” in 1979. And just 9 years before, when he was 20, he got to photograph Jimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight festival. Well, that’s quite a shot...
Luis Miguel Flores