Rafaelem Spain, 29, is a Virgo. He lives in his hometown Carmona, a small city close to Seville where his girlfriend is about to join him. However, he’s currently spending the forced quarantine at his parents’ place. Born in a small town, Rafaelem has mixed feelings for big cities: he loves them but feels too small to be part of them at the same time. His unhidden love for traditional cultures is the engine that drives Rafaelem’s relentless search for new stories and curious events. The unique shining light and the attitude of its residents make Cádiz Rafaelem’s favorite city. Curiously enough, Rafaelem’s says that his first photo was a self-portait, just to test his camera.
How do you criticize your own work? What do you do to try to improve yourself and your work?
In my opinion, I am not the right person to talk about that. I could be subjective, so I always look for a second opinion on almost everything.
To improve myself I try to look for inspiration in other photographers. I have my own library that has more than three hundred photography books and I spend hours and hours admiring the work of other photographers.
Your daily routine?
I get up and I go to the studio that it is on the first floor of my house. Firstly, I check the mailbox and answer any queries or issues. After that I start to retouch photographs and pending work. In the afternoon I usually read a book or watch a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Do you remember the exact moment when you understood that you wanted to be a photographer?
Yes, I remember it perfectly. I was 12 years old and I started to get interested in photography at school. I was “the official photographer” of all events at my school.
What does your creative process look like?
The biggest source of inspiration is my library and the cinema. I like to take ideas and inspiration from various sources, but above all from photography, films and paintings. For me, getting lost in the street is a way of acquiring ideas and thoughts about what surrounds us.
Sweet or salty?
Salty, I love olives and lupines.
Why did you choose Cuba for your project? Tell us about your experience there.
I have been there two years in a row with a colleague. The first year I spent 20 days there and this year I have spent a full month documenting life in Cuba. It has been a truly unique experience. We were from north to south and from east to west of the Caribbean island. We met many people who helped us better understand the way of life on the island. I will return without any doubt.
Favorite travel destination?
I like my country Spain, but if I had to choose a single place, I would choose Cuba.
The best movie you have seen and why?
The pianist. I loved the movie because of the sensations it produced me.
The place of your dreams to live?
Cádiz. It is a city less than 160km from my town.
What is your guilty pleasure?
The video games. I really like playing video games online with friends and it takes me too much time …
How do your roots influence your creative process?
They influence me 100%. The way of acting and behaving towards people comes to me from a young age due to my idiosyncrasy. I am from the south of Spain, where we spend much time on the street and we relate a lot with other.
What did you do yesterday?
The same as today, retouching photographs, talking to my girlfriend and my friends via video conference.
What do you want viewers to take away from your work?
When I take a photograph I try to viewers feel different cultures, traditions., the way of life… in fact the idiosyncrasy of a certain place.
A fun fact about you?
I am very clumsy. I collide with many things, and when I am photographing on the streets I stumble on many things. I have stepped on many people on the streets because I am 1.89 cm tall and I have a size 46 of shoes ….
What do you like most about being a photographer?
To be able to count the idiosyncrasies of different cultures of the world.