After finishing high-school, Angel Armero admits that he was a “crazy and confused teenager”. It was a time for decision making and deciphering which career path to follow – a feeling that many can relate to and one that rings with pressure. “I didn’t have many options and decided to please my parents by studying law,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I just wanted them to be proud of me.”
A year and a half passed, and he left due to its formality and the fact that studying law was rather “boring” – instead venturing into Technical studies in Image and Sound at Institute Caparrella at Lleida, Catalonia, followed by a course in photography at Institute of Photographic Studies of Catalonia (IEFC). This next quest enlightened a complete adoration with the medium of photography: “There was an explosion of incredible knowledge; I received a very complete education and that has affected my creativity and my style very positively,” he says. “I realised the magic and power of photography.”
The Menorca-Raised and London-based photographer now spends his time on the streets, capturing new experiences, the candid movements of his subjects and impromptu situations. As one of those early graspers who used to bring his camera to “immortalise the party nights” with his friends, he came to refine his practice after finishing his studies and in the midst of an impactful move. “Me, my partner and my dog were in London embarking on an adventure that marked us forever,” he says. London is where Angel took command of his great passion for street photography. Since then, he has travelled to different countries, participated in several exhibitions, has been a member of the Royal Photography Society and has covered several events for Nike and London Fashion Week 2017.
Citing references such as Garry Winogrand, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier, Martin Parr, Bruce Gilden and Dougie Wallace as those with whom he finds inspiration, Angel’s snapshot-style imagery humorously blends cartoonish characters (from real life scenes) with the everyday occurrences of the busy city. “I’m also influenced by the culture of the 90s, and I really like movies such as Gremlins, The Ghostbusters and the Goonies – where reality and fiction mix, forming a fantastic combination,” he says. “I love that and it’s part of my photographic style.”
Angel has pointed his lens to many parts of the globe – whether it’s the city of Kathmandu, Nepal, during the 2015 earthquake, or people taking their midday siesta. Most prominent, however, is his eye for capturing the goings-on in London, as seen in his latest series, Welcome to London. Delving into the touristic and comedic aspects of the city’s centre, the project was devised from many hours spent walking through Zone 1. Angel looked towards the more “fun and exciting” aspects found among the streets, in quest for a “curious and different scene that captures [his] attention”. He continues: “London is an extraordinary city for that purpose; very different and surprising things are constantly happening that make each ride an adventure.” Channelling his particular vision of what happens in the city, he likens his pictures to surrealist scenes that happen so often, but often go unnoticed, too.
Centred around a means of “finding things, not creating them”, Angel’s process can be in someways controversial, due to the spontaneous nature of unrequited picture-taking found among the style of street photography. “My approach towards capturing the subjects is almost always in a fairly direct way, and I almost always never ask for permission,” he says. “I prefer to explain later; it sounds a bit rude, but it has a reason. Perhaps there’s a situation that’s very good to photograph at that precise moment where, if I ask, I have already broken that magical scene that will never be the same again. Being close to the subject makes the image stronger.”