Ricardo Cases is a Spanish photographer born in Orihuela, Alicante in 1971. He holds a degree in Journalism by the University of the Basque Country. In 2006 he becomes a member of the photographic collective Blankpaper (see link below). He has published the books “La caza del lobo congelado” (2008), “Belleza de barrio” (2009) and “Paloma al aire” (2011), the latter one was chosen as one of the best photobooks of 2011 by Martin Parr and Alec Soth.
In 2009 he starts Fiesta Ediciones, an editorial project focused on photobooks.
I am using his two works “Serrano Boogie” and “La ciudad que soy” as an inspiration for my project on Cardiff Bay. He had the kindness to answer to my questions via email and with the same spontaneity and freshness that his photographs inspire. Here is the interview. I strongly recommend to have a view on his website.
B.R. How did you started in Photography? during your studies of Journalism or was it something that came afterwards?
R.C. Everything started at Journalism faculty’s laboratory at UPV (Universidad del Pais Vasco), Bilbao.
B.R. I’ve read you said you were in a search of the most primary at an expressive level and that you wanted to be lead by instinct when you photograph. That’s the kind of Photography that interests me, that one which comes from the inside. Aesthetic artifice
empty of content doesn’t interests me. What can you tell me about that?
R.C. More than anything what i try is to entertain myself in every work using a new (for me) photographic solution, with a new nonsense that amuses me in order to tell stories.
B.R. I’ve seen in several articles that you are cataloged as a conceptual photographer. What do you think about this label?
R.C. At this moment, what I am is a Valencian photographer.
B.R. You have been commissioned portraits for the newspaper El Mundo for few years. Tell me something about that experience. Do they let you work under your own criteria?
R.C. In photography assignments there is a wide range of possibilities which go from the absolute freedom to the more remote-controlled whim and this experience had more to do with the latter one most of the times. To work in a newspaper or in a general information magazine is, above all, an adventure. Every time you go out to work you face a new situation, you meet all kinds of people and your life is less linear, more rich in emotions. On the other hand, photographically it is a great school, both technically and personally.
B.R. Tell me something about your influences. Your favorite photographers and photography books. Or maybe you are more influenced by cinema, literature, music.
R.C. Photographer: Miguel Ángel Tornero
Book: “Karma”, Óscar Monzón
Filmmaker: Luis Garcia Berlanga
Non photographic book: “Martians, Melanesians, Millionaires, Backpackers and Murcia. Of economic perdition or space tourist”, written by J. Izquierdo, Antonio.
Music: Antonia Font
B.R. What equipment do you use? Are you tempted by film formats, 35 mm or medium formats?
R.C. A reflex camera 35 mm digital with a flash on the shoe and a 50 mm lens.
B.R. Seeing your work for Time on the evangelists churches in US , took me to discover another reportage on the primary elections in the state of Florida. Have this works been commissioned by Time or did they were interested in them once you had them ready ? Where does this connection with the US comes from? How was the experience?
R.C. Both of them were assigned by the magazine’s editor and it was a very interesting experience because of the total freedom that i was given to produce them. The biggest difference with the assignments that i had received until then, was that the editor called me because he had drawn his attention on a non professional work that i had done before and this made me face the works with a great tranquility and joyfulness.
B.R. What i like from your pictures is that they are direct and escape from the politically correct. They are simple and at the same time they are full of energy and that is what i like. How did you start to develop the idea and aesthetics of “Serrano Boogie” and “The city that I am” ? How was the creative process?
R.C. For Serrano Boogie, I went accross the wonderful pictures of Serrano street taken by Gonzalo Juanes as an excuse to start a new project in Madrid. The street was living a very special moment. It was being submitted to some ambitious renovation works that offered a very interesting photographic battlefield. The atmosphere was insupportable because of the noise and the dust from the construction works and in this posh context a new character appeared, the builder. It had everything to be attractive. It’s been one of the works that i most enjoyed.
The City that I Am arose out of pure pragmatism. I had been many years living in Madrid and working with a digital camera and around 2008 i decided to build a portrait of the city starting from those abundant files that i had as a result of these two new stimuli. This time, the excuse was a book and this container facilitated the tame of a seemingly unrelated group of items. The book motivated me to review my own pictures and to break them, link them, start a game which went further than the photographs themselves, further than the intention at the moment of shooting them. With this dummy i started a way as a photographer that i am still walking on, i discovered that there is a life beyond the pure individual image and i started to mess up with the idea of sequence, narration, working in a team, with friends that write texts and design wonderfully, etc.