RAEN ambassador, photographer, and creative collaborator Cecilia Alvarez-Hevia Arias chats with us on what home feels like, what RAEN’s she rocks, and what stokes her creative fire near and far. It’s people like her and collaborations like this that give a special voice to everything we’re doing here.
What is home like? What does a standard Cecilia day look like?
Home for me is a super important place. I couldn't live in a small space, with not enough light or without my furniture and my memories. It's the place where I spend more time along with my van, and I need its energy to flow around me, to be comfortable there for my creativity to flow. Each object in my house has a story: my furniture, my photos... And my 9 kg cat Panceta (Bacon in Spanish) is always around sleeping on one of the sofas.
One of the best things of my job is that each day is different from the rest. Some days I'm out shooting, other days I'm hitting the road with my van, some others I'm doing production and the rest I'm usually home, editing photographs or answering a hundred emails. I don't like getting up early so most of the days I start doing my 'office work' (mails, social networks...) from the bed. That's one of the best things of working from home! And I always try to end the day in a calm mood, going out for a drink with my friends, surfing in the favorite beach or just reading a book there.
I love this series of images here, for LAMONO Magazine. Can you tell us about that day? What goes into putting together a shoot like that for you?
When Eva (from LAMONO) came to me with this shooting I've just finished reading THE GIRLS from Emma Cline and I was super obsessed with it . I love its energy and the girls strength. I just really wanted to show that kind of force in the photographs.
Too many times, women in photography appeared looking blatantly sexual or infinitely fragile, or even both. But we (and I mean the most of us) focused very few times in looking for their (our) energy, our strength and other elements of self security. That's the concept I was interested in, and so I decided to create a shooting of several girls inspired in the 70's, aiming to get a feeling of those women that used to lived together. The book is a bit inspired in the Manson Family, the ones who murdered Sharon Tate and other three people.
I almost always do the production, art direction and fashion styling of my shootings, so the previous days were completely crazy while I coordinated schedules, looked for models, decided the outfits ... Really kind of crazy, but that's how I guaranteed myself that the final result is going to be the one I wanted. I love working on the ideas previously and then, during the shooting, just let the elements, the people and everything flow.
What do you look for in a good photograph, either your own or someone else?
I'm usually drove to the photographs that tell me a story, that let me go beyond the elements shown in them, that just awake my feelings and senses. I think that's the most complicated thing in a photograph: inciting feelings in someone by just looking at it.
I'm often inspired by several female photographers from my own generation. Some of them are Europeans and others aren't, but all of them are living in a sociocultural and historical context similar to my own and I believe that's a key to how their references inspired me. I'm talking here about Petra Collins, Arvida Bystrom, Berta Pfirsch, Melanie Bordas, Josefina Andrés, Azahara Fernández, Maya Kapouski... Honestly, I think none portraits women better than women. It's not about talent, it’s just gender empathy.
What sort of current projects really have your creative energy and buzz?
Just right now I'm in San Sebastian, a city where there's always something going on and where my energy is always flowing non-stop! Everything inspired me here: concerts, lectures, proactive people, exhibitions... When I need to recharge my energy, I came here for a few days.
Also, I'm going to Berlin with Lamono the next month (January) to visit BRIGHT TRADESHOW, a really huge event that showing the news from the street sector brands. I'm also a collaborator of BACK REAL, the cultural and surf project from my best friend Legi Alonso (Surfer Nacional. Globe, Sylph Brand, Watsay...) and we'd go to visit several cities in a search for culture, surf, people and boardsports..
On February I'll be part of the staff of THE RURAL WORKSHOP, a camp for photographers organized in the coast of Barcelona, in which I'll be learning and living for four days with photographers of all parts of Spain and also from other countries! It's a meeting made of pure creativity and I always go back home with my mind full of new ideas.
And on March BACK TO CALIFORNIA! I'm so looking forward to it :)
When you come out to California what do you like to do?
Last two times I went to California I spent a month visiting its coast in a RV, so you can imagine my favorite plan is just go from a beach to another. Between my plans for my next visit I have to mention going to visit my friends Brittany in Encinitas and Lourdes in her wonderful church in Ruby Street. I'm also dying to have a veggie burger from Captain Mollusk in San Clemente, find some vintage treasures in Oceanside's Captain Helm, and I never miss the giant Flea Market from Ventura, organized in front of the beach. I also love the photography shop Dexter's Camera, making photographs in the Skate Park from Venice and enjoying the sunsets from Palm Springs.
Three things you cannot live without?
I couldn’t' leave without Internet,
I couldn’t leave without a 35mm camera in my bag
I couldn’t leave without the sea.
How do you take your coffee?
I know I'm almost alone here... But I don't like coffee at all! I'm more of a tea person myself and I love natural juices. I think this is the only vice I don't have! ;)
What RAEN's do you rock?
THE POGUE are my fav! They have a 70's something I just love <3 Though I have never used the Alex Knost collaboration Tortoise ASHTRAY and they look just like a PERFECT MATCH¡¡