Eugenio Recuenco: 365°
What goes around, comes around 365°.
By: KYLE HAFFERMANN
365 ° entire series. Video for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
Reflecting on our day to day activities and the passage of time, photography series, 365° encompasses the mundane and monumental across more than 400 images. Having taken over 9 years to complete, 365° is a meticulous collection of memories, historical counts, and social commentaries.
Emblematic of a painter's creativity executed through a cinematic lens 365° invites the viewer into an intimate conversation questioning the very world around them. Images captured range from the events and feelings surrounding the tragic day of September 11, 2001 in the United States to the manipulation of trompe l’oeil, a stroke of pure artistic genius.
365° is as inclusive as the title suggests. From the quirky to the sobering, 365° does not leave a single stone un-turned. The diverse talents and breadth of imagination of Spanish photographer Eugenio Recuenco and his studio are truly exemplified in this riveting series.
"Alice is finally in Wonderland." Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
Does the 365° series seek to capture relevant historical moments for each calendar day?
EUGENIO RECUENCO: The truth is that in some cases it is so. I started shooting these photographs without a total plan of the project ideas. We started to develop the first 60. Sometimes, when I was developing ideas for future photographs, I found that some days, they had already been busy with other ideas. That is why the images do not always talk about what happened on that day, but sometimes they talk about other things or pay homage to other aspects of our time.
What inspired this series?
The series is a reflection of the world that I have lived in. It is a review of aspects of the world around me, the one I know, and I give myself the freedom to mix them freely so that the viewer's own experience ends up making sense to himself. In the end, it is a subjective vision of the world and of our actions.
Through the referencing of historical events, how were these moments relevant to your work?
Some historical moments arose by chance. For example, on August 31, it was created by chance. The stylist showed me clothes that were inspired by the British guard. I looked around and in the middle of the props we had accumulated in the studio, I discovered a kind of small tower. We put the tower in space and the model dressed in front. We did not have the gun and again looking around I discovered the broom it held. Two things were missing. The idea was close. We verified that the date I had in mind was free; August 31, the day Lady Diana died. We rushed to the computer to look for a picture of Diana smiling and we imported them. Wrinkled, we threw them on the ground in front of the guard who seemed to sweep what bothers the Queen. That was speculated, right? Well, now there is an image that represents these speculations.
August 13th, 1961. Berlin wakes up divided. Desire remained the same on both parts. Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
Do you take a cinematic approach to creating the story captured in your work?
In some cases my vision is more cinematic, when history demands it. The cinema is very important for me and is also reflected in 365° with small tributes.
What kind of moments are captured in the 365° series?
All kinds of moments, but many reflect acts that we do every day without thinking and that when you see it in front of you, you cannot believe it. I also believe that the current problem and the changes that our society is undergoing are reflected.
What is the meaning of using the same room for each event captured?
The space actually reflects the world that each of us makes around us. It is the reality that we manufacture, and in that subjective reality we are giving input to what we really want to pay attention to. There will always be the objective reality to which the characters can appear. Of course, it is located in an awkward place to access and requires our effort.
Where did this idea of the closed room come from?
The room represents a large skull where each man fabricates his story from his experiences. The window corresponds to the stimuli and the information we obtain from the outside. Sometimes directly and sometimes distorted, that builds our personal history from which we create our particular world in a common world for all.
Does the 365° goal seek to recreate the event as it was or provide commentary on each event?
The 365° seeks to put elements in front of the viewer so that this, depending on their curiosity, creates their own reading of my open proposal. In fact, the photographs are presented attached to each other creating real photographic murals where the viewer must choose according to their preferences, on which photographs will stop them and what will be the association between them. That makes the photographs speak to you individually, but also creates dialogue between them.
How long did it take 365° to complete?
The process lasted 9 years. The last one was dedicated mainly to the retouching of the images and to the conception of the exhibition. We ended up making more than 400 photographs. With the passage of time, some of the first photos did not correspond to the line that the project took over the years.
How much time would it take, on average, from planning to the execution of an assembly design?
It is a very difficult calculation because some photographs are only a matter of changing the props in the room while others required a specific construction that was done on the set itself. Sometimes in one day, we shot four photos with the material already prepared and other times we needed three days to build the set, another day to shoot and be able to disassemble.
"Trump the way I think he likes to see himself in privacy. An ego so big it fills a room and so strong it's like stone. Surrounded by what he likes most, as he likes, by worshiping him and his service." - Eugenio Recuenco. Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
How does a sense of fantasy and magic influence the reality you are capturing?
I think the 365° presents an unreal image visually, but at the same time, almost nothing escapes the physical laws we know. I like to fantasize more about mixing elements and concepts in the image and that this mixture creates a sense of fantasy. The oversize of the element is another topic that I have used. But those elements continue to behave as such. I don't like fantasy that breaks with physics. That makes the messages you transmit more credible.
Were there events or moments that you wanted to capture in 365° that you did not achieve?
Of course, many stories have been left untold in the 365°. Some because they were late, others because of budgetary impediments or technical complexity, others because we were not able to make them a reality. But fortunately, they were ideas that we are already giving out in my new project, “The Thousand and One Nights”.
What about the photographer Paolo Ventura has influenced the direction of your work?
I admire Paolo Ventura very much. I discovered him when this madness of “365º” was already underway. He has, aesthetically, many points in common with me. The languages are different and, more than a reference, has been a reference and an example when betting on something totally personal.
How have your painting studies influenced your work as a photographer?
I think that painting taught me a taste for color and composition. In addition, I think that the way to illuminate my scenes has a lot to do with the way to illuminate the scenes of figurative painters. The taste for telling stories may also come from the paintings that also claim that.
"Plastic is a cause of concern. The skirt is made out of paper." - Eugenio Recuenco. Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
What is your idea of a successful photograph?
A photograph is good or bad. Within the good times, some become by iconic decision of the community. From my part, you can only try to take good photos, the other is decided by the image consumer.
How has the visual style of narration of director David Lynch influenced you?
I love him. I think that David Lynch has shown me the way to introduce the unconscious in the images and gave me freedom when telling my stories. Possibly, I was influenced when cleaning the space to introduce the right elements that are needed.
Referring to the previous question, what kind of choices do you make when representing emotion?
The expression of the model, the color of light and photography. Sometimes a small detail makes you exercise a value judgment on the expression of the model that does not agree with the emotion that, in your opinion, should exert within the project to build the characters of each of the stories. I am an expressionist who has inflicted you figuratively.
Your work explores the play of light and darkness. What does light mean to you? Darkness?
I use the light to convey a sensation, the shadow that the imagination exerts on the viewer.
August 31st, 1997, Princes Diana of Wales dies in a car accident. A British soldier is seen sweeping Lady Di’s images from the floor. Raises questions of the many conspiracies surrounding the controversial royal and her mysterious death. Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
After reflecting on these 365° moments, how do they relate or influence the present?
The photographs of 365° are so open that you can always draw a relationship with the present. For example, a photograph of a girl perched on a fence that was inspired by the Beatles fan effect, at the CEART exhibition in Fuenlabrada, was next to Trump and the fight between the American boxer and the Mexican fighter. At that time, the news was the wall and this photograph jumped to be exposed next to the other two mentioned in order to tell what was happening.
Why fashion photography?
I was the most creative in Spain when I decided to become a photographer. At the time, I was living during a creative revolution in the fashion industry of my country.
How did fashion play a role in the design of the stage and costumes seen in this series?
I did not deny anything that fashion had taught me. I think it is an important part of the project, to build the characters of each of the stories.
The vast majority of the models seen in the images are women. What is the feminine form that you find essential in the images?
With my past in the world of fashion, it is easier for me to fantasize about shaping female characters and also being able to display creativity in that section of the wardrobe. Apart from the fact that women have been as participants as men in the course of history.
There are some images that seem to take a political stance. For example, the image of President Trump. What message were you trying to capture?
I was portraying Trump the way I think he likes to see himself in privacy. Surrounded by what he likes most, as he likes, by worshiping him and his service. All he does is reaffirm himself in the chicken coop.
What is the role of art in the commentary of politics and culture?
It doesn't have to be reduced to just that, but I think that artists, perhaps from looking at things from another perspective, also look at reality in a more critical way. Already in the act of creation, there is the intention to change your surroundings and give it another form. From the beginning, you are positioning yourself on what, how, and for what you are going to do something.
Days pass in loneliness while we peer into other's lives. Images for use of The Khollected Magazine from Studio Eugenio Recuenco.
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