Spanish photographer, Lucia Herrero, has a wonderful exhibition, Tribes, at Galeria Tagomago in Barcelona on display through April 9th. After studying architecture, photography, and physical theatre, Lucia has developed an approach to social photography entitled Antropoligía Fantástica. It documents portraits of people or groups with both drama and fantasy elements. The people are always real, not actors. It is a photo-event where the subjects interpret themselves and where Lucia composes them in the space as if they were notes on a stave. The results of this are her three latest projects “Tribes”, “Species” and “Equation”.
“Tribes” is asocial analysis, a raw portrait of occidental society. Groups of families and friends set themselves up by the sea equipped to spend a day in the sun. All this, harmoniously juxtaposed, seems like a poem of customs that reveal with humor, color and tenderness, the profundity of a whole society. These photos of modern-day beach groups are inspired on the studio portraits of ancient tribes who proudly posed in traditional costumes next to their prized possessions. The sky and the sea become the painted backdrop of the studio and the sand seems as if it were sprinkled on the studio floor. The lighting and the theatricality of the groups add an element of fantasy to the portraits of real people in their natural surroundings. That enlightens a banal situation and elevates it to a state of exception. I call this way of social photography “Antropologia Fantastica”.
This series talks about the human condition in a moment of a peaceful holiday, their pride to be there, their honesty and vulnerability. The objectively limited surrounding offers a complete extract of the essential. This portrait of the “Spanish Tragicomedy” is mean to have many different interpretations. Occidental middle class suffer an identity crisis created by the current economical situation. These images make us wonder what changes and what remains afterwards.
The photos were taken along the Spanish coast and people were asked to participate in situ: Ten minutes for a flashing set up, balancing color, shapes and hierarchies. All that gets dissolved afterwards leaving as the only witness a group portrait, a poetic painting… a human allegory.