Q&A: Ricardo Cases — El Blanco


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? No. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? No idea. Are you aware of any conspiracies? No. What is it that interests you about photography? Experience, the transgression of routine, the unexpected, ordering emotions, etc. What is the worst thing about city life? The tendency of cities to be a single global city, to blur local references. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Maybe your home. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? The light of my early morning refrigerator. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? El chiquito de la Calzada (important Spanish humorist recently deceased). Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Ornithology. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. One month as a taxi driver in the main cities of the world. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. I’m sorry, I have no conscience of having made an important photo. How often do you take other people’s advice? I at least like to listen to them. Describe a personal hell. I have not had that kind of experience, I’m very lucky. Which living person do you most admire? I have doubts between my brother-in-law Eugeni, my neighbors Mari and Bernavé, the doorman of my old staircase Jose Ramón, the carpenter who works with my other brother-in-law Miguel Angel, my friend Jose Enrique Minacapilli and of course, my daughter Martina. On what occasion do you lie? When I do not tell the truth. What was the last crime you witnessed? A few years ago I found a dead man making pictures on the edge of a highway. What is the best way to educate yourself? Going out on the street. What is the next book you want to read? Villa Wanda (Eduardo Bravo) about strange things that happened in the XX century. Ultimate camera? Really standard digital Japanese camera. Most used camera? Really standard digital Japanese camera. What object do you want? Really standard digital Japanese camera. What object do you need? really standard digital Japanese camera. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? One of the worst used inventions of humanity. Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? I always dreamt of being able to lift a red truck. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. The attack of the terrorist group ETA against the future Spanish head of state Carrero Blanco. Are impulses more important than consequences? Usually. Which talent would you most like to have? Some of them. What is your plan for the next 24 hours? To play with my daughter.

In 2007 Ricardo Cases embarked on a trip across Mali in the company of a white man. Along the way he photographed everything that caught his attention and took portraits of his fellow traveller, a man from Seville whose primary activities were thinking and looking. On his return, Cases reviewed the material and started playing around with the images, with a view to connecting both groups of photographs: those of his travel companion and those of the territory they had visited. He realised however that the images were not sufficiently self-standing to tell the story he had intended, and after a few failed attempts he pushed the material into a drawer.

Years later, in 2015, he returned to the images and felt he was starting to connect with them. Some of them suggested ideas: the lack of legitimacy he felt as a photographer in talking about a place he experienced only in passing; the innocence in the gaze of the tourist who goes with the flow, stimulated by the journey’s serendipity and by the exoticism of a foreign culture and reality; how it can sometimes be appropriate to linger on the surface, in the realm of the imagined, on the outcome of an experience so specific that it could nearly be a dream…

That’s when he decided to structure the work around these new premises and edit this book in collaboration with Iván del Rey de la Torre, whose texts enter into a dance with the photographs, against that melody. The relationship thus established reveals how an image’s importance often lies not in its materiality, but rather in the tracing of it that we carry around forever in our mind. When we fabricate new images, they are nothing but projections of those tracings.

That was the genesis of El blanco, a story where an examination of the West’s representation of outlying territories leads us to question representation itself.

Ricardo Cases was born in Orihuela, Alicante (Spain) in 1971, he holds a BA in Sciences of Information from the Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao (Spain). In 2006 he joined the Blank Paper Photography Collective. In 2009 created with the designer Natalia Troitiño Fiesta Ediciones and since 2013 a member of the AMPARO platform. Since 2007 he develops his work as a teacher in CASA, Blank Paper School , in the European Institude of Design (Madrid, Spain) and in Efti (Madrid, Spain). He is represented by galleries Angeles Baños (Badajoz, Spain) and La Fresh Gallery (Madrid, Spain), Temple (Paris), EspaceJB (Geneva, Switzerland) and Dillon + Lee Gallery (New York).

He published the books El blanco (Dalpine, 2016), El Porqué de las naranjas (Mack Books, 2014), Paloma al aire (Photovision-Schaden-Dewi Lewis, 2011), La caza del lobo congelado (Fiesta Ediciones-Cuadernos de la Kursala, Universidad de Cadiz, 2009) and Belleza de barrio (Universidad de Extremadura, 2008).

To see more of Ricardo Cases work visit — Website / Instagram.