Angel Albarrán (b.1969, Barcelona) and Anna Cabrera (b. 1969, Sevilla) have worked collaboratively as art photographers for over 17 years. A rich inner philosophy about memory and experience — and an alchemical curiosity for photographic printmaking — guide their aesthetic practice. Particularly influenced by Japanese thinkers and artists like Junichiro Tanizaki and Kansuke Yamamoto, their photographs question our assumptions of time, place and identity in order to stimulate a new understanding of one’s own experience and perception. For the artists, “being conscious of our surroundings isn’t just an important part of life —our surroundings and how we interpret them is life as we know it.”
Angel Albarrán’s love for photography was inspired by his grandfather. A carpenter by trade, Albarrán’s grandfather created cameras for the photographers in his province before taking up the art himself. Anna Cabrera found her passion at age 16 when her father lent her his Voigtländer camera to take on an academic trip to Paris. Since beginning their collaboration, the artists have attended workshops, learning from such masters as Humberto Rivas and Toni Catany. They have deepened their personal beliefs through through the world of literature, and through extensive travels in East Asia and Western Europe.
While inspired by literature, painting, film, and philosophy, Albarrán Cabrera specifically employ the medium of photography to convey their worldview:
Viewers interpret photographs subjectively by relating them to culture, experience and memory. This means that as photographers, we can explain complex subject matter, or the relationship between various subjects, without using verbal language and its linguistic code. Instead, we use images and prints. We feel that photography can help viewers understand challenging concepts in a different way. A set of images creates a harmony between the viewers’ wavelength and our own.
There is a gap between reality and what we understand as real. And photography (as Japanese dramatist Chikamatsu once said about art) lies in the frontier between the real and unreal, the true and the false. So it helps us to “see” what is hidden from us.
Albarrán Cabrera tirelessly experiment with a diverse range of printing processes such as platinum, palladium, cyanotype, and gelatin silver print. While often toning their darkroom prints with selenium, sepia, or tea, the artists also invent their own methods to add tonal depth to their artworks. The artists use hand-made gampi paper and gold leaf for their pigment prints that emit a radiance akin to Japanese silk painting.
Nailya Alexander Gallery is Albarrán Cabrera’s first gallery representation in the United States. Their photographs have been exhibited in galleries and photo fairs in Spain, Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Lebanon, and Italy. Private collections and institutions that house their photographs include Hermès, Goetz Collection, Banco de Santander, Fundación de Ferrocarriles Españoles, among others. They have also produced photographic prints for institutions such as Fundació La Pedrera, Barcelona; Fundació Toni Catany, Mallorca; Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid; the Photographic Archive, Barcelona.