For three days, architects Daniel Rueda and Anna Davis, combining their love of geometry and storytelling in photographs using building facades as their canvases, explored the pastel pink and blue walls of La Muralla Roja (translated from Spanish as “Red Wall”). recognized as a postmodern heritage in the Spanish city of Calpe. The complex itself was created in 1968 by the architect Ricardo Bofill. In this magical setting, the duo of photographers put on a visual hide-and-seek game, shooting only at sunrise or sunset to capture the same soft lighting for each image. In their interview, Daniel and Anna talk about everything that underlies the concept and implementation of their project in a fairy maze.
– Why did you decide to shoot a series of precisely La Muralla Roja?
“As architects and photographers, we always strive to draw attention to buildings by depicting them in such a way that they become the protagonists of our photographs, instead of using them as a background. Not that La Muralla Roja needs extra attention! This complex has become a real icon, recognizable anywhere in the world. However, we believe this global recognition failed to showcase the building’s true and unique beauty, especially when used as a pastel-colored common prop. We wanted to fix that by telling a visual story that could highlight the complex’s special design and aesthetics, and try to have some fun while filming. We think the world has seen enough “aesthetically pleasing” architectural photographs of this place.
– How did you come up with the idea to transfer the concept of hide and seek into photography history? We see Anna stalking herself.
“We usually try to tell stories in one shot, in one place, one building at a time. We are looking for the most unusual details of the building we are interested in and trying to come up with a concept for it. But La Muralla Roja is too big to pick just one location. Instead, we decided to find an idea with which we could experiment throughout the complex. Then we realized that by playing with the same concept throughout the series, we can focus on celebrating all the interesting perspectives that open up. That idea turned out to be “Pink a boo!” – a visual game of hide and seek in a fairy tale maze, where the main character will never be found or caught, because Anna is actually chasing herself.
– How did you plan the entire filming process of the project?
“The series planning process was not difficult. Since our photographs are always taken outdoors, natural light is an essential component of our work. For this project, we decided to shoot each photo at sunrise and / or at sunset to get a linked series of images. Shooting only at this time ensured that all shots had the same soft sunlight and the same subtle shadows, even if they were shot on different days. This means that not only did we have to wake up very early every day, but we also had to photograph until the sun went down completely. In addition to this, we also decided to stick to such a schedule so as not to disturb the peace and quiet of all residents of this private complex.
– How did the filming process go?
– The first thing we did when we just arrived was reconnaissance throughout the complex. Despite the fact that the layout of the complex was familiar to us, we continued our search in order to find the most beautiful and unique perspectives. The idea was to create unprecedented compositions in this building, regardless of the scale, be it a detailed shot of the stairs, the general view of the complex and everything else in between. At the same time, we also tested which locations best fit our concept of hide and seek and which postures would help convey that sense of playfulness. Luckily for us, La Muralla Roja is filled with great hideouts to play with! After we determined how many places to rent, we made a schedule for the remaining days so as not to miss a single place. In the end everything was so well plannedthat the filming was not that difficult. Our only real fight was deciding which of the two outfits was right for a particular location!
– Did the color palette of the building influence your choice?
– How influenced! We love to create a connection between fashion and architecture through our imagery. In this sense, photography in such buildings is always a challenge. We usually have to think hard to figure out what clothes to use and what color combinations will look the best. But in the case of La Muralla Roja, everything turned out easier – we had to look for something that would merge with its colorful surroundings so that Ricardo Bofill’s design could be in the spotlight. The building seemed to be talking to us, prompting us to use pink and blue dresses. Indeed, choosing the right color for our hide-and-seek players’ clothes was not a problem, but finding dresses of a particular shade was incredibly difficult!
– Your camera is the Hasselblad the X 1 D somehow assist in achieving your goals?
“Our goal in this episode was to tell a believable, but unrealistic story that could have happened in the otherworldly real world. And the X1D-50c proved to be the perfect travel companion on this adventure. While shooting with such a camera is a test overall, its two main features were key to this project – Hasselblad’s rich color depth and its 50-megapixel medium format sensor. Ironically, I think the color accuracy of this system makes it feel like this place might not be 100% real. Thank goodness the resolution of the images allows us to dispel any doubts.
– Was the camera able to convey the full range of colors you need or did you still use post-processing?
“Besides the obvious combination of several photos into one, we tried to minimize post-processing as much as possible. It was important for us to try to bring a sense of realism to this incredible place, showing not only the grace and tenderness of its color palette, but also the roughness of its brutalist architecture.