Raul Guillermo started his career in International Business, nowhere near photography but decided to take the ‘jump’ as his fear of the unknown wasn’t that predominant as the feeling of regret. Born in Lima, Peru he has changed one capital for another when moving to Paris, France to follow his dreams.
« Taghazout is a small fisher city that was used by the Berber people, an ethnic community indigenous from North Africa, as a place to store their fisherman equipment. Nowadays, Taghazout hosts people from all over the world that arrive on the west coast of Morocco every year in search of a sweet escape from big cities and their daily routines. The series focuses on the growing process, thanks to the ever-expanding tourist activities and the promises of new city projects (vision 2020) that will bring more wealth and 20 000 direct and indirect job positions for the region. As of now, the inhabitants and merchants of Taghazout are motivated about the new project. The local community of restaurants, surf shops, and hostels are hopeful this will bring new business to the 6000 residents in the area. But how will this affect the local business in 2020 when the project is finished? Will this bring more work opportunities or finally, will these locals be forced to join big corporations in order to make a living? »
"THESE SMALL MOROCCAN CITIES HAVE THUS FAR SEEMED TO EVADE THE INFLUENCE OF WESTERN CULTURE, AS SOON AS YOU START PAYING ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS YOU CAN FIND OBJECTS THAT SHOW THE SLOW BUT STEADY CHANGE OF WESTERN INFLUENCE: AN ABANDONED JET-SKI, SURFBOARDS, MERCEDES-BENZ TAXIS AND OTHER DIFFERENT OBJECTS THAT CAN GIVE YOU THE SENSATION OF A GLOBALISED WORLD. IT IS POSSIBLE TO START FEELING THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND SOCIOLOGICAL CHANGE IN THE CITY, BUT THE SOUL AND THE ENERGY STILL REMAIN FROM THE BERBER ANCESTORS. THE QUESTION IS FOR HOW LONG?"
You’re a documentary/fine art photographer. What did attract you the most to this genre?
I love doing this kind of documentary series because I feel great using attractive colors and compositions that you can use in the stories. For me, it’s truly meaningful to transmit the core of the place or subject through the pictures I’m taking. And for this reason, I feel the necessity to alter the colors to make this possible. In the case of the “City Itself”, I didn’t know how to start beginning documenting what I wanted to portray about that city. So, I decided to start taking pictures in the style I felt more confident in. In the end, I realized that I was documenting the city, but with a different approach to what I normally do in documentary projects. I’m not sure where I’m at or what I do prefer, whether in documentary or fine art photography but I guess I’ll figure that out in the future.
What did you want to represent with this series?
I’m not sure if I wanted to represent something in this photo series. But if I could resume it in one word I’ll say “transition”. It’s incredible to see how this place looks now and how the government pretends to change it in a couple of years. I’m also curious to see the human adaptation in terms of behavior and lifestyle to this new environment. What will happen when the visionary project it’s done. I love this kind of uncertainty.
Tell us the most fascinating story that you’ve captured on camera?
Happened in this year (2017) when I did my first visit to the Eiffel tower after 3 years living in Paris. I was there contemplating the view when suddenly I saw a little girl with her mom behind her. I don’t know why but I felt something was going to happen. Suddenly she turned back and she said something to her mom in the ear. I could capture the moment when she was turning and taking courage to say something to her mom that we will never know. After seeing the picture, I just thought “this is beautiful” even if the picture is not the best. I’ll keep this moment for a long time.
When you are traveling and photographing, do you enjoy more cities or nature?
This is a hard question. I really enjoy big city vibes. I think that every person has a different story to tell. On the opposite, nature, for me, it’s about not thinking too much. I don’t like to worry about a good composition while having beautiful mountains or forest in front of me. I just feel to embrace them as much as I can. However, in “plage isolée” that is one of my favorite series, I enjoy doing it because actually, it’s a combination of nature and how the human interacts with. It’s about a slower type of living that people adapt on the coastal areas.
Which tips would give to someone who’s just starting in photography?
Shoot everything that you feel attracted and always take your camera with you. If you can’t carry your camera because it’s too big at least bring a disposable one. You never know when you’ll have an opportunity in front of you. You must be ready, but also spend some time contemplating things. I think that’s one key factor in photography, always raise your head in order to see what you have in front of you and learn how to read them.
What do you do when you’re not working? How do you spend your free time?
While living in Paris, you have the opportunity to visit art galleries, installations, etc. And appreciate other people’s work. Not just in the area of photography but also in painting or plastics arts. I like to spend my time going to this kind of places to find inspiration in other things that are not necessarily photography. However, it’s true, that traveling allows you to think in things that matter at that moment. I like those transition places like train stations or bus stops, where you can find any kind of story just watching people faces. I prefer locations that are close to the sea, to be honest. And also going to concerts, music is one of my other passions.
The one thing you couldn’t live without while traveling?
A backpack, sometimes everything you need while you are traveling can be fit in a backpack.