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Joy often comes in the process more than the outcome. In the issue, we have invited Madrid based photographer Álvaro Guillén (@4alvaro) to bring us on a joyful journey in his creative practice.

Maven: Tell us about a recent project you are most excited about.

Álvaro: I recently started a project in which we’re going to portray artists together with their artwork in their domestic environments. It was an initiative of the graphic artist María Blanc and the curator Carmen Riestra, with whom we did the some work for Forbes magazine earlier this year. The title of the project is “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” as a graphic interpretation of Erving Goffman’s theory of front- and back-stage behaviours, a masterpiece of sociology targeting social values and cultural practices.


The idea is to show not only art pieces but also a profound picture of people behind them. Artists are being portrayed in their own comfort environments such as their homes or their ateliers, where they can relax and connect with their own “backstage”. Once there, we experiment with poses and expressions to intentionally play with the perception of sincere natural poses versus performed artificial posture – which I believe is the leitmotif of my work questioning balance and ease through a latent struggle between reality and dystopia.


Maven: Tell us about an object that brings you joy.

Álvaro: Last year, I acquired a new camera objective with a 50mm fixed focal length. Until then, I was used to several other objectives of variable length and variable zoom range. With a fixed focal length, you can’t zoom in or out, so you need to move back and forth if you want to play with the framing and the composition of the picture you’re taking.

When you’re taking pictures with manual focus, fixed focal length, and manual exposure controls, etc. you need to be constantly aware of the subject and the camera. That process requires a level of concentration that makes one lose oneself in the picture completely, and really enjoy the taste of photography with a blank mind – it feels like meditating. Moreover, the quality of the picture and the depth accomplished by the background blur is fantastic.



Maven: Maven: Tell us about your favourite way to spend the weekends.

Álvaro: I love short 1-day excursions to nearby places as a way to spend Saturdays. I am originally from Alicante, Spain, where many towns, villages and beaches along the shoreline are easily accessible. Currently, I am living in Madrid from where you can also travel to the countryside quite easily. It’s great to go with some friends and spend the day taking pictures and doing picnics around.

It was a pleasure to chat with the passionate creative. Joy should not comes from possessing objects, but rather the things they enable us to do and the insights they give to our lives.


On Alvaro: Dusty Olive 28mm Brown

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