READ IN: Español
We talked w/ Javier Ruiz (@javierruiz69), a photographer from Madrid and artistic director of C. Tangana.
Three years ago, he consecrated himself professionally when the Gran Vía of Madrid surrendered to his talent. Today he is one of the most promising artists on the national scene. Recently, one of his snapshots was on the cover of Forbes magazine. But what no one has been able to stop talking about for a week now is the theme and video of “Demasiadas mujeres“, a visual experience that is more than perfect, dramatic in the right measure with chaotic and romantic overtones.
Highxtar (H) – Before diving into photography, what professional field did you value?
Javier Ruiz (JR) – None in particular, I was working as a commercial, as a doorman in apartment blocks, in a gas station, in a clothing store, trying to survive.
(H) – Were you self-taught with the camera?
(JR) – Yes, a couple of years after I started taking pictures, I studied an image FP, but I would say that I learned little or nothing there.
(H) – You experiment with fashion photography, but is it fashion that pleases your creative fetishes? Or is it more restrictive than you expected?
(JR) – Yes, I could say that it pleases me the most. In fact, fashion photography is where I give the most free liberty to my creativity, also because I always want to do fashion, it’s the field where I started and I always try to introduce that point in all my work, it’s part of my vision as a photographer. As for the restrictive part, I would say that it is not intrinsic to fashion, but yes to some clients.
“I try to mix fleeting ideas that haunt my head with what the person I’m photographing inspires me to do.”
(H) – You move around a lot in the fashion area, although, we also know that you have worked on documentary and artistic photography projects, in which one do you feel more comfortable?
(JR) – In which the three things are mixed. I think this is my personal brand.
(H) – What importance do you give to colors in your projects? Which do you lean towards more, the aesthetic or the emotional?
(JR) – I give a lot of importance to colors. I think that has become part of my identity as a photographer. I’m more inclined towards the aesthetic, although all my photographs have a lot of emotional part in terms of the things that inspire me to do them.
(H) – What do you look for to make each project different? Is it difficult to leave behind old habits?
(JR) – I try to mix fleeting ideas that haunt my head with what the person I’m photographing inspires me to do. I always like to play with different elements or locations so as not to depend only on the style. I take advantage of the context of each shot.
(H) – What influences do you like to feed on to continue evolving as a photographer?
(JR) – I’m not one of those people who idolizes a particular figure. Like everyone else, I am bombarded every day with a thousand visual references, but as a concept, I am inspired to think of photographers who have been doing very personal work for a lifetime and who have not stopped fighting and evolving; that would be my life’s goal.
(H) – What did you feel when your photo of C. Tangana wearing Loewe filled the Gran Via?
(JR) – Man, that was a big goal for me and the whole team at the time. Typically, you send your mom and your buddies to see it and everyone starts sending you selfies with the billboard “haha”.
But that was three years ago, we are still adding moments, in fact, we have just been on the cover of Forbes, another thing to check on the list. And all that is about to come with the new album, is crazy…
(H) – In C. Tangana’s project you are transforming his image to “El Madrileño”, as part of the creative team, what does it mean for you to be from Madrid?
(JR) – I have lived here all my life, I am in love with Madrid, I have many memories of popular sayings, of how the city used to be, of the people, of my grandparents… And when you grow up you realize that what you understand as normal or what you think is the case everywhere, in reality is typical of each city or each town, and that is precisely what enriches popular culture, a culture that is being lost more and more every day due to globalization. That, for us, sharing generation and experiences, inspires us a lot, especially when it comes to creating new things. The past is always the source of inspiration to develop something new, no matter what field you’re talking about, and for me, Madrid has a lot to inspire.
(H) – Where did you spend your time in confinement? Did that time serve you as a personal and professional reflection, or did it represent a creative blockage?
(JR) – I spent it in Madrid, in my house. It served me for many things, I reflected a lot both personally and professionally, I managed to slow down and that, in the long run, I have realized that it did me a lot of good, both at that time and for the future. Creatively, it didn’t mean a blockage for me since together with Santos, who created an incredible edit without which that video would not have existed, we created “Nunca Estoy“, with archive images that I had recorded some time ago plus new images that I recorded with Rocío (@_rocioalvarez_) at home during the confinement. The truth is that making that video saved me a little bit from the quarantine.
(H) – The world situation we are living in has changed our way of thinking, we have started to live more in line with “carpe diem“, but where do you see yourself in five years?
(JR) – I’ll give you a pretty easy answer, no living in LA making big campaigns with Hailey Bieber. I see myself in Madrid, with my girlfriend, my friends, my family, my house and working on what I like to do, being happy here.