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10-03-2005
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Ruven Afanador - Photographer
time for another photographer's thread

i love his non-fashion black & white prints but i think he also developed a very special style in fashion photography especially with strong colours.




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10-03-2005
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pictures credited to www.artnet.com, www.iconiamoda.com and http://art.transindex.ro/?cikk=107




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Last edited by Estella*; 10-03-2005 at 09:24 AM.
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10-03-2005
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maarit posted a picture from this editorial in the frida kahlo thread once. it's originally from bw.greyscale


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10-03-2005
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That fourth image is ridiculously awesome.

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10-03-2005
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from www.artefino.ch/
Quote:
RUVEN AFANADOR

Rather than basking in the spotlight after winning the coveted Trophee de la Mode award for Best Photographer last year, Ruven Afanador has been quietly working in the dark room, putting the finishing touches on his debut book of photographs, Torero (Edition Stemmle). Due out in October, this impressive coffee table addition offers a lyrical portrayal of matadors and their killing ways, a tour de force that has taken him several years and numerou trips to Spain and Latin America to complete.

Deeply personal and at times pointedly homoerotic, the photographs-all in laconic black and white detail-have their roots in Afanador's recollections of a growing up in a small town just north of Bogotá, Colombia. It was here that his simultaneous obsessions with Irving Penn and beauty pageants flourished, a hybrid of influences that still informs his work. It's an idol worship that Afanador says was completely inulged when he photographed Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the famed naive realist author, who is regarded as a national treasure in Colombia. In an auspicious photo session arranged by Joan Juliet Buck, former Editor-in-Chief of Paris Vogue, the conversation between the two visionaries veered to bullfighting and inspired in Afanador a fascination for the secret society of men with tradition-soaked, embroidered suits and the adoration of everyone. Here, Afanador explains to Lee Carter how he has slain the beasts in his chosen arena.


INTERVIEW

going through a stack of photographs to be included in the book)

Lee Carter: Wow, it's going to be a big book.

Ruven Afanador: 100-something pages. (192 pages with 175 photos, to be exact.)

LC: There's a lot of sexuality here. Are bullfighters heroes, sexual objects like movie stars?

RA: Yes, women go crazy.

LC: And some men?

RA: Yes. (laughs) I have seen women throw their clothes at the corrida (bullfight). Normally when the bullfight is over, if they have done an incredible corrida, the president or mayor will award a prize to the bullfighter and it's usually an ear, or two ears, or a tail. Getting the tail is the biggest honor. The bullfighter will walk a big circle and everyone waves. Everything you throw, clothing, a hat or a shawl, his assistant matadors will toss back to create a path. I have seen many women throw bras because they were so swept up in a frenzy.

LC: Their costumes are very ornate, like corsetry.

RA: Someone else has to dress them, as with corsetry. There's no way they can do it by themselves. Each main city has a bullfighting museum to house all these costumes and things having to do with famous bullfighters. The matadors in these photos are wearing actual outfits from the museums worn by famous bullfighters. We were like the curators in that respect.

LC: Those spears in the bull's back can't feel good.

RA: They're banderillas used in the earlier part of the bullfight. They're normally thrown into the bull by the assistants to start making the bull tired. It's a dangerous but daring thing. It's while the bull has all his strength.

LC: The deep groin scar this torero has is quite something.

RA: Yes, the main cities have amazing arenas and comparable medical services, but the towns don't have a proper way of suturing in case the bull's horns puncture the skin, so that's probably how the scar came about

LC: There's a overriding sense of showmanship, pageantry and religious iconography in the book and in all your work. How conscious of that are you?

RA: I'm inspired by it. It's something that I feel totally attached to. I love to use it because it has so much theater.

LC: Originally, the book was to have a foreword by Joan Juliet Buck. Is that still the plan?

RA: Not anymore. She was very instrumental in the book coming about, but since she's no longer at the magazine [Paris Vogue] the foreword fell through.

LC: I was thinking this morning that there's a recurring theme of a masquerade of sorts in all your work, and darkness to a lesser degree. I was reminded of Edgar Allan Poe's Masque of the Red Death, an allegorical poem about a masquerade ball where everyone is killed one by one by the Red Death.

RA: The darkness in my work is very natural. Everything comes from childhood.

LC: Pageants?

RA: Yes, there was a morbidity in pageants, a superficiality. They were national events in Latin America, more than now, completely front page news. I remember it would be an official holiday in the town with the mayor at the parade as she [pageant contestant] arrives. I loved the idealized beauty and how they were dressed.

LC: Did you ever want to be in a pageant?

RA: No, just patriotic for the ones who were from where I was from. If they didn't win, there would be crying. I remember their pictures would be displayed in windows of the town and I would always love to run and look at them. They were black and white and they were beautifully done and so

LC: Would you say you're a very passionate man?

RA: Yes. I think I'm very passionate because everything is about that...when I'm shooting or even shopping, it's always about...

LC: ...having the most? In your photographs you have the most color, the most fashion and the most from the environment. The feeling is very opulent, very sensual. I'd imagine you live your life like that.

RA: I have made it more into that, with opportunities from my work.

LC: Work which includes everything from Paris and German Vogue to a Time cover [Christy Turlington in a feature about yoga]. Which other magazines do you aspire to work for?

RA: I think I would love to one day work for American Vogue, I think everybody aspires to that.

forth. They don't do it like that anymore. But it was interesting that I was so much about going to see those photographs. I had no aspirations at the time to become a photographer.

LC: Would you say you're a very passionate man?

RA: Yes. I think I'm very passionate because everything is about that...when I'm shooting or even shopping, it's always about...

LC: ...having the most? In your photographs you have the most color, the most fashion and the most from the environment. The feeling is very opulent, very sensual. I'd imagine you live your life like that.

RA: I have made it more into that, with opportunities from my work.

LC: Work which includes everything from Paris and German Vogue to a Time cover [Christy Turlington in a feature about yoga]. Which other magazines do you aspire to work for?

RA: I think I would love to one day work for American Vogue, I think everybody aspires to that.

LC: Besides yourself, which photographers do you admire?

RA: Irving Penn is the big master in my mind. He's very minimal, very elegant. His career is remarkable and when you look at the things he does now, it's still remarkable at this age and tied to his earlier photography. I also admire that he likes his privacy. I like that he could be a great fashion and portrait photographer but never having to be on the scene.

LC: Do you relate to other black and white masters besides Irving Penn, like Horst P. Horst?

RA: No one to the degree of Irving Penn, though in modern times I greatly admire Steven Meisel.

LC: What about Meisel?

RA: His style, his control, his research. I think he's extraordinary. When I look at his career next to all the photographers who are somewhat on his level, his continuity is incredible, to be able to produce so many stories in a year that are spectacular, that you go, "Wow!" To pull that off, I think it's amazing.

LC: It's interesting that you mention him because most other photographers I've interviewed have said the same thing.

RA: I remember the first shoot I photographed here was at the Puck Building. I was shooting on the top floor but something happened to the studio below ours so we had to share a kitchen and bathroom with the crew working there. It turns out Meisel was shooting there and it was such a rush that I could be so close. He was right there creating something that three months later would be such an inspiration to people.

LC: Did you feel like peers?

RA: I had previously felt so distant, then suddenly, in New York, I realized how accessible it could be.

LC: Do you ever collaborate?

RA: I always work alone. It's something that has never really occurred to me because my vision is so specific.

LC: You often have props and elaborate contraptions on set. Has anything ever gone dreadfully wrong?

RA: There's been a lot of passing out on the part of models. The most memorable was when I was doing a shoot in which the model had to fly so there was a whole rig she had to be on. The model was very young, like fifteen. She was extremely excited that she was going to fly.

LC: A little too excited?

RA: Yes. She was so pretty, so long, so skinny but the person setting up the rig and fitting the clothes for her required that all the wires went through the clothing in a certain way. All this took forever and she had been there since 8:00 in the morning but she didn't actually take flight until 6:00 in the afternoon, so all day she had this expectation. So finally, it's all set and she takes off and she's in the right moment and she looks so beautiful. I took one roll and sensed she was not hearing me so I asked if she was okay but realized she was fainting. I asked the rig master to bring her down and as she touched the ground she collapsed in the most beautiful manner. Also, she was very white to begin with, but her skin became the whitest I've ever seen.

LC: When you go back to Colombia, are you looked upon as a hero?

RA: Not a hero, but they know who I am. I remember in 1992 I was invited to visit some schools so I went back with gift bags of things like magazines and photos. Many of the photos had been done on location in other parts of the world and they couldn't really see the inspiration behind them, but all the inspiration had come from my childhood in those same towns so I wrote text next to the photographs that explained the connection. It was fascinating to see how they loved that.

LC: Looking at your photographs, I can't help but see a similarity to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's dream-like novels of otherworldly, surreal situations beyond our reach.

RA: Totally. Since I left Colombia at 14 he has been like a conduit to keep the Colombian culture near to me. His writing is so much about the Colombian imagination, very surreal. He became a hero to me. Up to the point I started going back to Colombia I became extremely attached to his writing. Funny, he was the person I always wanted to photograph the most, dreaming one day I would. When I got to photograph him it was an incredible experience. We spoke about bullfighting. It was from him I developed an interest in making Torero.

LC: Are you religious?

RA: Pretty much, but I'm not going to church all the time.

LC: Are you as devout as your mom would like you to be?

RA: No. (laughs)

LC: What's your most prized possession, among all the art, photos and furniture here?

RA: My collection of books is very important to me. It allows me to do all my research from here. For instance, I'm going to Chile soon to do a story inspired by Pablo Neruda [Chilean poet and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature]. I'm researching how things looked there during the time he was alive so I'm looking at architecture, for example. I'm also reading his poetry which is extremely important in South American literature. The trip is inspired by his poetry, it's for Amica. We'll shoot in all the locations where he lived and with all the elements he loved. The photos are going to have his writings written on top. It'll be a while before I'm done with it all, but fortunately I have a producer already there so I can explain what I need beforehand.

LC: What's the story behind that black and white portrait on the wall of what looks like a Peruvian villager?

RA: That's by the photographer Martin Chambi. His style is like Irving Penn's, but he's earlier than Irving Penn. He inspired me greatly and he's also South American. He lived in a city high up in the Peruvian mountains where Penn visited in the 50s, I believe, to photograph the Indians, to take portraits of them. But when you compare those portraits with Chambi's portraits, the similarity is remarkable. It's clear he was important to Penn.

LC: I read online you've directed videos.

RA: Three.

LC: Rock & Roll is Dead and Circus by Lenny Kravitz. What else?

RA: I did one for a South African band.

LC: Good experiences? Do you want to continue?

RA: I would love to. It's always a question of my schedule, because they're so time-consuming and I work for a number of magazines regularly that I have agreements with. Every video I've done takes six weeks and that's so much time. I think eventually I will do more, but for right now I have too many commitments.

LC: You're known for your love of couture.

RA: I always photograph the couture during the couture season. I have such an understanding of it that is completely instinctive. I shoot couture but I don't always go to the couture shows. I'll see a couple, my favorites. I love the theater of Dior and Gaultier.

LC: Brazilian couturier Ocimar Versolato?

RA: I have wanted to, but haven't.

LC: You travel much more than most photographers, places like Iceland for Elle. Do you make it a requirement?

RA: Very much. I travel most of the time. When I'm in New York, it means I'm in-between trips. When I come back I'm mentally exhausted but I still have to do all the editing, retouching and at the same time prepare for the next shoot. As stressful as it is, it's a cycle that works very well for me.

LC: In five years, where do you want to be?

RA: I hope I will have done a lot more books.

Shannon Wilkinson of Cultural Communications, New York, is publishing agent.

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10-03-2005
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Lovely! All of it!

Thanks anna karina.

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10-03-2005
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you're so welcome, madame!

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10-03-2005
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Wow, I like his photography, thanks for introducing me to him! There's a sharpness in his photos that I really like, seems like something in between Aldridge and Roversi to me.

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10-03-2005
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you're very welcome.
i know what you mean, but still aldridge's imagery somehow leaves me cold or annoys me, though he is technically a very good photographer.

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10-03-2005
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from an editorial in german vogue ("ein hauch von rauch")

also from www.bwgreyscale.com


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10-03-2005
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Impressive... I the ballerina's foot especially.

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10-03-2005
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Ooh nice.

His photography comes to life more with colour (especially the one with the netted face), but even with black and white you still feel something.

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13-03-2005
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german vogue may 2002 from bwgreyscale.com


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19-04-2005
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small but beautiful:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg afanador300high.jpg (21.9 KB, 1058 views)
File Type: jpg noviembre2002.jpg (4.8 KB, 1255 views)

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