Anxo Casal (Barcelona, 1998), aka Subrogado, started taking photos of colleagues and characters of the night using the flash. Like cats (protagonists in many of his photos), it’s at night when he feels most comfortable. He does not directly photograph reality but intervenes and makes it to achieve shocking images. He has 3 colleagues who accompany him on all the proposed adventures; also in the goat’s head adventure in Barcelona. Requirement to do what he does: have fun.
SUBROGADO (ANXO CASAL)
2021 / 06 / 15
Why Subrogado (subrogated in English)?
AC: Well the truth is that it’s a pretty painful story. We were in a business class in high school and they explained the concept of “subrogate”. It was funny to me and it was a time when I was changing my name all the time and I said “Subrogate… SUBROGADO.” I was contacted via Instagram by a child surrogate company and they commented on photos because they thought I was a surrogate boy. One day I’ll sign again as Anxo, as I like it, it’s a Galician name and it’s uncommon. I appreciate it.
It seems to me that you work with very solid concepts. How do you prepare them?
AC: I started working with a production company filming and I wasn’t having a good time. Then I started working with a photographer named Adrià Canyameras… The most important thing for me is to have fun and make the experience real. I like to have experiences, I am demanding with the result but I always want new experiences. I like to come up with a solid idea and work on it right away. And when that happens I appreciate it.
Has this happened to you with MAUS®?
AC: Yes, I had a great time, drinking, visiting friends, going to the beach, creating environments to have fun… Create concepts, like the baby photo, hahaha Have fun always it’s better with friends.
“I like to intervene, I like to fiction, I like to modify the moment.”
Do you go all day with the camera or just when you go looking for photos?
AC: I always like to shoot when I have an idea. I like to intervene, I like to fiction, I like to modify the moment.
How do you come up with these ideas?
AC: I usually have a friend (Lluc) who helps me taking pictures. I throw the ideas at him and he helps me build them. The truth is it helps me with all this crap. I have a group of three friends who support me with everything. Now we shot a video clip in which a cow… Shit this is spoiler, I can’t say more.
It’s always cool to have “a Lluc” nearby.
AC: Yes, I am looking for my identity 100%. What I do know is that I want to have fun. I don’t enjoy most of the commissioned work…
“The effect I wanted to have when I started was surprising at first glance. Criticize the amount of images we consume per day.”
I see a definite style: punk but elegant… consistent.
AC: I find it hard to look at my own essence… The story of the goat’s head is curious. The effect I wanted to have when I started was surprising at first glance. Criticize the amount of images we consume per day. I wanted to make an impact. I notice that most photographers and creatives end up doing the same as we see on Instagram… that’s why it’s always tried to be impactful, to get out of that, I guess. And well, the story of the goat’s head. It was 2019, when the referendum was held… if I’m not mistaken. What year was the (catalan) referendum?
AC: That. It was after October 1st, it was when there was the December election after the imprisonment of political prisoners… it is important to know this to locate the moment. We wanted to make still images with a goat’s head in the Raval (Barcelona) with two friends, including Lluc. We wanted to put it in stores, in different places… something pretty weird. And we put the goat’s head on the Ciudadanos (political party) stand… without any political involvement, hahaha It could have been on the stand of any political party. The atmosphere was very tense. I kept taking pictures of the goat’s head and the people passing by… Until the people got up and got nervous and caught us as if we were criminals, the cop came and all. The next day it came out in every newspaper that two independentists young men had thrown a goat’s head at Ciudadanos stand, when I personally don’t care too much about this subject. We were just doing the donkey. I can’t post the photos but these photos are really good! The complaint never reached me… but they wanted a political weapon and it went everywhere. I was scared… but luckily they didn’t post my name in the media. I don’t regret it… but now I see that it’s not my photo essence either. It’s just an experience I had.
Do you shoot thinking on Instagram?
AC: I don’t shoot thinking I have to go to Instagram, I don’t think at all when I take photos or videos, but it’s true that Instagram is where we share it. At the end the problem is the feedback that social media causes. Sharing has these things, that everyone ends up doing the same thing, the same trend. Copying and referencing is not the problem. The point is to make Instagram the ultimate goal, that’s what makes it all toxic.
Do you censor yourself?
AC: No. I just try to have a good time. Yes, I do regret it when I spend or get involved in projects that I make bigger than needed… For example: in a commission to make a video on some furniture we put tables on four cars…. so far so good… but the problem was when I came up with the idea that the tables could hang from a helicopter but we didn’t have the money to make it. You see me asking at my grandparents’ house where I get a helicopter and it turns out that some of my grandmother’s cousins have a helicopter rental company. I got it but in the end I wasn’t entirely happy with the result either. Sometimes to do things right you need a focus puller, a better camera… and that means money we didn’t have. Sometimes I complicate my life.
You shoot a lot at night.
AC: Yes. At night there is more freedom. At night there is no one, you can do whatever you feel like… to a certain extent because there is police. It’s freer, I feel comfortable at night. I really like the flash… the night is perfect. I hadn’t noticed that I was shooting so much at night, especially when he was just starting out.
Do you think there is a photo scene in Barcelona?
AC: It’s hard… I don’t see photography scene. I see a small art scene, that we all know each other and can collaborate with each other. This is cool.
AC: Well, the Sociedad 0 collective. They are designers. They are friends who have a warehouse in L’Hospitalet (suburbs near Barcelona). I’m a big fan of them and I really like what they do. Or friends like Anna Izquierdo who takes beautiful pictures and is now in Belgium… Now I’m a little isolated because of the amount of paid jobs I have.
AC: Fuck… so, Adrià Canyameres who is a friend of mine and a referent. I would also love to see digital art, like the Digo Studio which are very cool… although the piece that Blanca (Miró) has made on your label is also quite digital.
AC: Book… Now I’m reading “General History of Pirates.” It’s kind of like a fact book and I’m one of those people who looks at Wikipedia a lot… and I like it because it’s like “this year this one did this and that”… the book is very interesting. Pirates have always been highly mythologized and it is not clear what they did or did not do. Album… An artist named Meitei: Japanese sounds mixed with a kind of atmosphere… I wouldn’t know how to define it. They transport you, they take you to a kind of peace even though I wouldn’t call it peace… it heals me a lot and helps me focus. And series, I’m looking back at one of my favorite series which is “Cowboy Bebop”, anime series and space western. With a very, very, very cool jazz soundtrack. I really like anime: getting out of reality and into the worlds they create.
INTERVIEW: JORDI CLUSELLA
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