English / Español
Photography and fashion not only make up my career, but they are also a key part of my life. Working in fashion, in any related field, as a stylist, journalist, editor, photographer, illustrator, blogger, influencer or a fashion publicist is not simply a job, it is a lifestyle.
When young people ask me how I started my career in fashion and photography in Madrid, Spain, I always say that fashion chose me. I can’t remember as a teen being overtly interested in fashion, I was more interested in fighting lost causes. Photography though had drawn my interest. Age 12 I asked my parents for a camera, a Kodak Instamatic, with which I proceeded to photograph my fave subjects at the time, brothers, sisters, and friends.
When I arrived in Madrid during the early ’80s I already had quite a solid photographic know-how. And had been seduced by the power of fashion as a sociological tool. I arrived from London where I had experienced first hand the evolution of the punk movement. My experience included a stage in Vivienne Westwood’s mythical shop in the Kings Road and my first contacts with British Vogue, a designer and a magazine of which I am a fan, and the British fashion crowd at the time.
But Madrid is Madrid, and the creativity, the energy, and above all, the people, led me to dive into the adventure of trying to make a go of establishing a career in fashion, through photography, in Madrid.
For the first years in Madrid, I worked as an assistant with key photographers, Javier Vallhonrat, Alejandro Cabrera, and Nacho Pinedo. I was also very lucky to have black and white development training with a master photographer and printer, Valentin Vallhonrat. But I was always an atypical photographer in the sense that I felt more of a reporter that an artistic photographer. An innate sense for organizing, coordinating and communicating led to complete my training years as an assistant with art directors Juan Gatti, as well as with Pepe Vela Zanetti.
So grateful to have worked with, and learn from, such talented people.
So, as I felt professionally prepared, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time; a constant in my life, I opened my photo studio in Madrid in 1983. I aimed at creating more than just a place to take pictures, but also a think tank where to talk about fashion projects, fashion promotion and how Spanish fashion design could establish itself in its own country. Benefiting from the new energy boosted in Spain with the arrival of democracy and the socialist government established in 1982 that set about modernizing Spain in all its facets, intellectually and culturally as well.
And so my fashion career began. These first pictures that I took in my Madrid studio reflect all the ideology entailed in my approach to fashion and to photography. Aesthetics to me are a natural result, not an aim as such. My objective was to create spontaneous images that transmitted message and emotion. In this case, images that represented Spanish fashion, the Spanish style updated. I decided to take a series of photographs to reflect this with beautiful model Valeria Montenegro, and a Balenciaga dress we “borrowed” from one of Valeria mums friends. Dear makeup artist and friend Luis Burgos acted also as stylist of the photo session.
Stating that fashion and photography are indispensable allies, yesterday, today and tomorrow is indeed an understatement. Yet I feel Spanish fashion and Spanish photographers could do much more to work together to create powerful, meaningful images.
These photos are unedited, as are most of the photos I am publishing in my blog. This one is the first look of a set of four. I will update this post when I scan the rest of the looks.
My life status has always been busy working and getting into trouble. I am always searching for new fashion projects, new communication tools. I am also a tech lover; photography, video, and of course the myriad of digital tools. Technology has always been my work ally and I always look towards the future, making fashion happen.
To be continued…