Albarrán Cabrera are the photographers Anna Cabrera (b. 1969, Sevilla) and Angel Albarrán (b. 1969, Barcelona) who work together as a collaborative duo based in Barcelona.
The work of Albarrán Cabrera has been shown in galleries and photo fairs in Spain, Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Lebanon, Italy and the United States. Anna and Angel both have studied under photographers such as Humberto Rivas and Toni Catany, among others.
Some of their prints have become part of private collectors and institutions such as Hermes, Goetz Collection, Banco de Santander, Fundación de Ferrocarriles Españoles among others. They have also produced printing work for several institutions like Fundació La Pedrera in Barcelona, Fundació Toni Catany in Mallorca, Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid or Barcelona Photographic Archive.
1. Do you consider your tandem as a figure of contemporary photography ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We are sons of this time and era and we embrace the new possibilities, while at the same time we keep using ancient techniques. Our attitude is to have as many tools as possible to better convey a message.
To create our prints we use all what we have at our disposal: from processes created at the end of the 19th century to the newest ones. Thus, we use old techniques such as platinum/palladium or cyanotype, to digital negatives or pigment prints. Our motto is the more tools you have the more creative you can be. The only requirement is not to be afraid of experimenting and spend lots and lots of time learning, learning and learning.
2. How would you describe your style ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We have never actively looked for one, so we cannot describe it. Photography is something closely related to our personal growth as persons. Our goal is to learn and know more about the reality that surrounds us and photography is the tool to understand and learn more. This means that our “style” evolves at the same time we are learning, and therefore changing, as human beings.
3. For how long have you been working together ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We met each other in 1987 and the way of behaving explained above started then. But working “seriously” and being conscious of the importance of photography as a tool to learn is something that started around 1994 when we rebuilt our first “serious” darkroom at home.
4. Tell us about your experience…
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : Our relation with photography started a long time ago at a time when we were still working independently. It was for us, as for most people, a way to store memories. When we met is when we realised that photography can also be a way, or an excuse, to learn more about the world you live in.
Time, reality, existence, identity and empathy are highly interesting subjects, but the most fascinating thing is the relation between them. These relations are difficult for us to explain by means of words and that’s why we rely on images. We are particularly interested in memories and the role they play in our understanding of these subjects and relations.
5. What mission do you photograph ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : Juan Rulfo in his book Pedro Páramo writes: “Nothing can last forever; there is no memory, however intense, that does not fade.”
The fact of collecting images or not depends on the person. For us, photographs reinforce our memory. And at the same time, they provide us with a wider knowledge and a better understanding of the world around us. Personally speaking, we are as interested in the objects photographed as in all the ideas and knowledge which we have to previously acquire in order to conceptualize them as images.
6. Your work arouses many emotions to the viewer as an introspection into the intimate realms…
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : we may not be able to answer the big questions about time, reality or space, but we are interested in exploring how a photographic image can make people think about their reality. Being aware is not just an important part of life; it is life as we know it. By using photography, we want the viewers to increase empathy and arouse interest towards their reality.
We are particularly interested in memories and how they work. We want to play with the memories of the viewers to construct a representation inside their minds. Of course we will never know what the final result will be, because any person has different memories and grew up in different cultures and environments. Our images will only be the bare bones of this mental construction.
7. Which artists influence you ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : Different kinds of artists belonging to different disciplines such as photographers, painters, writers and scientists have always had a strong influence on us. To name a few: Josef Albers, Harry Callahan, Luigi Guirri, Duane Michals, Toni Catany, Pentti Sammallahti, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Ralph Gibson, Masao Yamamoto, Adam Fuss, Gerhard Richter, Giorgio de Chirico, Pierre Soulages, Giorgio Morandi, Anseln Kieffer, Lee Ufan, Julio Cortázar, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Haruki Murakami, George Orwell, Juan Rulfo, Tawara Yusaku, Michio Kaku, Erwin Shröedinger, Carlo Rovelli, Satoshi Kon, Wong Kar Wai, Christopher Doyle….
8. Could you define yourself as a witness of the world around you ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : Any human being is a witness of the world around him, but that world has been created by his perception. In turn, perception is not reality, but a projection of ourselves. Our purpose when using photography is to make visible elements which are perceived but that we cannot see at first sight.
9. Your work could be described as a memory syndrome full of poetry…
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We believe that we are our memories. They define what we are and help us to understand our reality. When we remember, we do not recall a perfect stored representation of the event. A memory is not a snapshot or movie of our lives. We reconstruct our memories based on a set of things that happened, that we perceived and imagined. What those things are also depend on our past experiences, our knowledge, and us. Consequently, each time we recall an event, we change it. We construct a skeleton with the most important pieces and fill the gaps with our imagination. So the memory recreated is not a perfect representation of the event. Our memories are rather flawed but we do not even realize it.
10. Japan seems to have a deep impact on you both
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : Japanese culture is very important for our work and us. This culture is subject to many stereotypes and enormous misconceptions. At the beginning, you can fall into the trap of its aesthetics and philosophy. But once you study the language, the people and their history, you discover the reality about this country: the good, bad and horrible things -that any country has-. And yet, there is still something fascinating: Japan offers us a completely different interpretation of reality compared to our Western conception. We all live in the same world, but it is interpreted from many, totally different points of view.
11. How do your organize your work together ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We met each other in 1987 but started to sign together some 18 years ago.When we met, we realized that we had many things in common and one of them was photography. So, we decided to work on that together.
Our working methodology has been changing over the years, though. At the beginning, we went shooting together, but in the lab, each of us used to process and print their own pictures. But the resulting images were very similar as our way of seeing is also very much alike. As it had no sense to continue working like that, we changed it.
Now we function as if we were just a single photographer. Our images are mixed and we work with them in the darkroom or the computer without thinking who really took them.
12. What about the future ?
Anna P. Cabrera & Angel Albarrán : We want to continue learning and working in new projects. Because of photography, we are studying new languages, we are travelling to new countries and meeting really interesting people.
To live our everyday life as photographers is the most important thing for us right now, so we are deeply enjoying the ride.
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