Although his work presents a single moment in time – in the same way any photograph does – Biel Capllonch’s images are brimming with narrative. His portfolio zig-zags through scenarios, some are bizarre and others more mundane, but each feeling is like a snapshot of a much bigger picture.
Born in Majorca, Biel moved to Barcelona to study fine art in the early ‘80s, started working upon graduating and never left. Although now it seems farfetched that he would use any medium other than photography, during his university years it was painting that he focussed his attention on. “I certainly painted canvas, until a friend of mine told me that the photos of the paintings were much better than the paintings themselves,” Biel tells It’s Nice That. “That’s when I decided to switch to the camera once and for all.”
Working on personal, editorial and commercial projects, Biel’s unique photographic voice is a product of his approach to the medium. “I like everything that surrounds the ‘click’ more than the shot itself,” he explains. While still in school, he learned to develop negatives “by chance”, long before having his own camera. “I loved working in the darkroom. It was quite an experience, as great or even greater than taking a picture, I liked the process. I think I still have that spirit.” It seems logical, therefore, that his images today involve a much larger process, creating elaborate scenes where the final shot becomes almost redundant.
Visually, Biel’s photographs are incredibly cinematic. Using both the space and the people within it, his images create tension through a combination of lighting, focus and composition. In one scene, a family argument appears to take place while a child hides under the table, in another three men gather around a fire with a selection of vegetables, one of them holding a chicken. “I really like cinema,” Biel explains, “you get to see through a screen into someone else’s reality, which doesn’t have to be yours but can take you to places you hadn’t thought about.”
Biel’s next project will see him exploring the reality and fictions surrounding botany and small gardens. “I’ve been thinking about it for years but it’s always been on standby because other works came before it,” he remarks. With music, in all its facets, also largely inspiring his work, Biel describes how the series will feel divertimento or scherzo: light, entertaining and playful. “I love applying musical references to images,” he explains. Based on the accomplished way that Biel’s previous work creates mood and atmosphere, we’re sure this series will be just as successful – definitely one to keep an eye out for.
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