"I was born on an inhospitable and rocky planet, dominated by a star that is too close. An immense ball of fire rotates in my sky that I don’t dare to look at directly. I’ve got used to living with its scorching breath down the back of my neck, humiliating my head. [...]”
Luis López Navarro
Ricardo Cases, a teacher on the Master of Professional Photography at IED Madrid, has presented his latest work: Sol. A publication inspired by the sun which continues the line of work around Spain’s east coast which began with El porqué de las naranjas (2014).
In this new book, Ricardo Cases investigates the cliché of the sun, trying to capture its importance at the heart of the economy, identity and local aesthetics of Spain’s east coast. A publication included in the list of the Top Five Spanish photobooks of 2017 according to the British Journal of Photography and which enjoys the collaboration of Luis López Navarro to give voice to the work.
We talked with Ricardo Cases, photographer and teacher at IED Madrid, to learn a little bit more about him and his work.
He was born in Alicante in 1971 although he currently lives and work in the city of Madrid. He holds a degree in journalism from the University of the Basque Country. In 1997, he moved to Berlin, where he worked for the Scheinschlag newspaper. Only one year later, he moved to Spain to continue his education at the Complutense University of Madrid, and where he worked as a paparazzi for a couple of years. A little later he would start to work with the El Mundo newspaper, where he worked on two supplements (Magazine and Yo Dona). In 2016 he joined the BlankPaper collective and today he continues teaching classes.
Your latest publication, Sol, follows the line which you began with El porqué de las naranjas. What is it that has made the sun your inspiration?
In the same way that I began my previous work with such a local and representative excuse as oranges, in this book the starting point is the sun. In order to have a better basis on which to tell the story, I’ve been going out to work in these months of unbearable heat that so characterise the summer on the east coast. It is a work that takes the approach of a children’s book in which I tried to represent the sun with all the possibilities offered to me by a place in which everything is conditioned by my protagonist. The truth is that it is so important that it’s impossible not to focus your attention on it as a photographer.
Sol is included in the Spanish Top Five of 2017 according to the British Journal of Photography. What do you think is the thing that makes it unique?
Because the person responsible for drawing up this list, the journalist Juan Peces, visited the exhibition of the work at The Fresh Gallery and he liked it.
In your classes, what do you think is the most valuable lesson that you instil in your students?
I always try to share my experience by emphasising that each of them has their own experience and that the most interesting results are linked to perseverance and freshness, with the audacity to take on projects on the basis of a solid training. I really believe that it is important and necessary to know the history in order to move forward.
As director of the Master in Professional Photography, what would you highlight about the programme?
The profile of all the teachers is that of a professional photographer who is at a sweet moment in their career, who comes to class to transmit a living experience, to clarify processes and to offer the tools that will help students join the professional world. We are committed to teachers that understand photography in two ways. Firstly, as a tool for expressing their own ideas by producing books and exhibitions and, secondly, as a professional opportunity. This means that the portfolio shown to customers will be a good reference of the photographer’s eye, of a particular language and a specific way of telling stories. The tutors try to understand these different personalities over the course and focus the project in that direction.