Alex Llovet is a Spanish photographer who has studied humanities, cinema and photography. He has written and directed various short films, published a number of photobooks, and had fair share of exhibitions. Beware Of The Dog is a journey to maturity, the transition in which desire, the idea of death, and the scars caused by the passing of time all appear. These concepts replace the space that fiction occupies when we are children, with “reality”, and awareness of the adult world.
Taking into consideration the fact that Beware of the Dog touches the timeless subject of maturity, I would like you to mention a major difference between back then and now in your art making or art perceiving in general.
I like to think of the passage of time as an ally. When I was younger, I used to work with goals in mind, whereas now I feel more connected to the importance of the process and to the present, in a meditative and spiritual sense. Managing the ego tends to improve with age… “Experience” helps you interpret the signals and discard the paths that don’t interest you. And in this sum of small resignations is the key to understanding again and again what the big issues that underlie your work are and finding the right way to shape each project.
In several of your photographs we see the existence of children. How was this parent-child relationship during the photo shoot? They appear so natural in the book’s both fiction and realistic environment.
In my work children act as my alter ego. My images always work on a poetic level and are often metaphorical. I am not talking about the children’s universe but about the impact that childhood had on the adult. Also, I don’t usually get the children around me (usually my own daughters and other friends) to pose for me. In that sense the images are always “stolen”, captured in familiar contexts like travelling, activities etc. Then, during the selection and editing process, I decontextualize them to use them as pieces of the narrative and conceptual puzzle that make up my series. It doesn’t matter where they were taken, when or who appears in them, but the role they play in that new invented story.
Some photographers prefer photobooks, while others prepare exhibitions for presenting their work. Taking into consideration your artistic activity, you do both. What do you enjoy most and how do you decide which one best suits your project?
I think both formats are interesting. However, as an editor and collector of photobooks, I am especially passionate about this format because it generates an intimate experience with the reader that can be repeated and can change over the years. And this fascinates me, especially for work as personal and open to interpretation as mine.
Could you tell us more about the sequencing / editing stage of the book, which manages to stay open to interpretations?
Although Beware Of The Dog is a book with multiple layers and open to different interpretations, it also has a narrative structure, which is both solid and deliberate. The book is built around a phrase that is built as we read, changing its meaning, thus determining the theme of each chapter. The images are always printed on a double page, often in the form of diptychs, many of which act as an illusion disguised as a single image.
“I am not talking about the children’s universe but about the impact that childhood had on the adult.”
In addition, some chapters are read from left to right, and others require that you turn the book 180 degrees and read in the opposite direction, as if we were going backwards. This allows me to play with time and create a nonlinear narrative.
Do you listen to music while photographing / editing your series?
Absolutely not. I know that many photographers do, but music distracts me immensely. You cannot create a melody by listening to another melody … and when I edit and sequel, I try to generate rhythms and emotional landscapes similar to music … And as well as being a photographer, I am also a musician, and I suppose that by because of that, when I hear music my head can’t help but get lost in it by concentrating on its details, which makes it totally incompatible with editing. I can listen to music when I am cooking but not when I am working with photographs. Not when I am choosing them, putting them in order, not even when I am editing them.
What are you working on now?
I am currently preparing the printing of my new photobook “The Escape Velocity” that will be published shortly, as well as editing various projects for my publishing company “Ediciones Posibles”.
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