From the beginning of the section It Marks with beacons, we have approached different routes in which some architects explore and develop his activity. Today we will enter the world of the photography of Roi Alonso’s hand, vigués of birth and grovense of adoption. Roi Alonso is an architect for the ETSAC (2006), but as every professional it began to work before finishing his studies in the Estudio A-cero in A Coruña.
Due to his work it had to displace to work abroad, and was in this moment where it gave his first steps in photography.
“I take the photography as another weapon to be employed at the architecture”
Which has been your formation and professional path before the photography?
EI studied Architecture in the ETSA of To Corunna from 1997 until 2006. Once finished the career and already working as architect from 2004 I began the studies of the third cycle in the branch of “Xénese, linguaxe e composición na arquitectura” but I could not finish them since for motives of work I moved abroad during a long period of time. In these dates in addition, the Plan came into force Bologna and with it a restructuring of the courses that finished in the disappearance of the same ones.
What did lead you to opening way you in the photography?
During this season that I worked as architect abroad, happening with it a lot of alone time and in a new city. The photography served on the one hand to happen the time the weekends and for other one gathering and to portray all the places and buildings that I knew.
With these first photographies I elaborated a so called series “Dubai comic” that would work out published in the magazine Digitalfoto, in which it was a question of comparing the imaginary and futurist cities of the comics, heiresses of the architecture of the 20s and 30s with the sensation of unreality and impossible geometries of Dubai.
In this moment it seemed to me that the being architect was giving you a point of view and a few thematic interests different from the majority. Of the same way it seems to me that the photography does not stop being another way of composing; As in the photography there is looked the composition, the light, the moment … it is very similar to when you face the distribution of a housing. It does not stop being another way of ordering and composing from the already existing thing.
Did you meet many difficulties in his putting in march?
Most of the difficulties is of technical and economic character. The photography of architecture needs a specific material and as you are extending your aims, the cost is more important and in occasions prohibitively.
As for the relation with other photographers or companions the truth is that it has not existed no type of rejection or problem, if not rather everything opposite, I believe that in general a very good relation exists between photographers and always it is learned or one admires the works of these.
From the professional point of view, the photography of architecture is something very concrete and in my opinion it is not very exploited. In Galicia we rely on very good people that also it comes from the world of the architecture and that they have great part of the market. To enter this circle is a slow process, it is necessary to try to be taking advantage of the opportunities and to try to offer a product different from the existing thing.
The artistic and explanatory part is even more complicated. The photography, in these times where all the mobile ones have chamber, is a very simple and instantaneous way of expression that has reduced furthermore the artistic interest in the public, who sees it come down to pressing a button in a machine.
The sensation that is perceived is that there is no a culture of the photography as artistic object as if it can exist with the painting and sculpture between the people of the street (the whole world can extract a photo but not so many people to be capable of doing …)
It is true, on the other hand, that the explanatory spaces have multiplied, and that the restaurants, shops, etc are turning also into places in which to show your work.
What other projects and / or activities do you associate to your labor as photographer?
To part of the architecture as such the one that I continue linked as architect at the professional level, also entertains the part corresponding to the design of the cartels of the exhibitions as well as the creation of videos of photographies that help to show your work.
The video of photographies is in the habit of being habitually a sequence of images, rows or not, between if, with an identical music for the situation.
In my case I treat to explain with the videos the concept of the photography and since I perceive and compose the image. Hereby I try to show every image on parts and to relate them to others of the same series in order that a correlation exists between them.
Do you think that to study Architecture has been a fundamental passport to have come to your current work?
I believe that if. That the sight is something that it is necessary to train and teach.
The technical part of the photography is evidently necessary because it serves you to obtain the best results as for light, color, brightness … but always it has seemed to me that the important thing is the content.
I believe that the studied credit architecture has contributed a vision of the space different from other photographers and that at the professional level it helps you to deal better than the client it searches. Later it exists always the obsessions and phobias of one itself that they contribute another value to the photography.
Are you satisfied with the reached goals? Future challenges?
I amuse myself working and I like, so certainly that I am satisfied. I have managed to expose my work and have had the confidence of other architects to portray his works. It is something that in a beginning always many satisfación produces to you.
Since future challenge would make illusion do a book with someone of the series of photographies at which I am employed, but it is not a challenge in the short term, is something in view of here to 3-4 years or more…
Would you encourage other architects to follow your steps? What steps do you consider that they should give? How should they complete his studies? What other advices would you give them?
I believe that the architecture serves you for much more than the building or the urbanism in if same. There is a world there out where there can be applied many of the learned knowledges and an architect has notions of facilities, structures, construction, design, composition, etc.
The advertising, press, everything related to the design in all the scales, work with wood, stone …, even in the kitchen…
Such and since one finds everything related to the architecture in Spain, as consequence of the economic crisis and the real-estate bubble, the professional exit like architect takes a fancy complicated and the solutions happen for insisting (providing that it could), to go away abroad in search of fortune or to try to find other horizons.
I believe that the better thing that someone can do is to be always in constant formation and not to reject the parallel opportunities that could arise.
Do you believe that the architects in Spain we should continue opening new routes of work to go out of the “most “traditional” cabin of projecting given the current situation of the sector in our country?
Certainly, as he was saying previously, the formation of an architect can serve you to confront other challenges not necessarily linked with the traditional architecture.
For putting an example, here in Coruña I know architects who devote themselves to the painting, to the restoration, to the design, the advertising, the mode, etc.
Probably some of them have finished realizing these works due to the economic circumstances for which the country happens and especially the profession but I believe that they have could apply the knowledges learned in other places and in general these persons to be satisfied with what they do and even they have discovered what really they like to do.
Has there appeared the situation to have to emigrate? What do you think of those that they have been going to work abroad?
I have worked abroad but not as a search of work before the lack of opportunities. In my case, the company for which I work had projects in the Arab Emirates and this gave place to which it had to spend big periods of time in Dubai.
From the position of credit worked out of the country I believe that it is an experience that it would recommend to the whole world, architects or not. So much for the opportunity to know another culture as other languages, another people, etc that will extend your experiences as well as it will help you to see the things from other points of view.
But the circumstances are not the same for the persons who have to emigrate to find the work that does not exist in your city. Always I will recommend to the people to travel and to try to obtain the maximum of possible experiences but it must not serve as excuse to conceal the royal problem that we have here. It does not cost me “if there is no work it is necessary to emigrate and the life be looked” the emigration must be an option and not a solution.
How do you see the future of the profession?
Since architect I believe that we are in a moment in that it is necessary to reconsider the figure of the classic architect. The economic circumstances do not allow (and they should have allowed ever) the continuity of the architect like personage of high buying power and it has gone down at one stroke the shelf of elitist professions.
The architecture must happen in a period of reflection, not so much probably, as for the architecture as such, where a constant evolution seems that it exists, since to the profession as union.
The architects’ colleges are obsolete such and since we them had known and his functions already do not turn out to be useful that should. There would be necessary to check his reason that to be, to see that they can offer the collegiate one and if it is the way of union that is needed in these moments.
I believe that at least for enough years the architects we will try to survive doing what we like where we prune, well as technician or, on the contrary, in other related professions direct, or indirectly with the architecture.
Roi Alonso · Photography
Interview realized by Ana Barreiro Blanco and Alberto Alonso Oro. To be grateful for Roi Alonso his time and predisposition with this space.