As their luminous Japan works go on view in London, the Spanish photographic duo speak on memory, craft and the power of photography to move you
Having worked together for over 25 years, photographic duo Anna Cabrera and Angel Albarrán made their careers creating dreamy, evocative works which aim to trigger a memory response in the viewer. “We function as if we were just a single photographer,” the Barcelona-based duo, who first met in 1987, tell AnOther of their symbiotic practice. Looking to the sublime beauty of the natural world, their photographs investigate complex feelings that words cannot fully capture, such as our experience of reality, space or even time.
A new exhibition curated by gallerist Michael Hoppen, titled As Far As The Eye Can See, offers an immersion into Albarrán Cabrera’s world. The show spotlights a selection of works from their series The Mouth of Krishna, Kairos, and NYX, all of which were lensed in Japan. “I first saw their work at an art fair and was immediately captivated by the luminous prints on the walls – the Japanese aesthetic was so magnetic to my eye and I bought several pieces over the year for myself and family,” Hoppen says. “I find their craft wonderful and their unique vision very therapeutic.”
Featuring hot glowing sunrises and calming cloudy vistas, crashing waves and circling red fish, the photographs in the exhibition have a magical, almost timeless quality to them. This is in part due to Albarrán Cabrera’s totally unique printing processes, which involve the use of handmade gampi paper, gold leaf, rich pigments, and double exposures which are often applied months apart. “We deeply believe the more resourceful a photographer is, the more these ideas can be expressed,” they explain. “So our research and our learning in the darkroom to find techniques that expand our photographic syntax are of the utmost importance to us.”
Beneath the beauty of these works, though, is a deep interest in the experience of seeing and the potential art has to move us. “For us, photographs do not just reinforce our memory,” the pair say. “They also provide us with a wider knowledge and a better understanding of the world around us.” One thing they particularly love is how much this experience can vary from person to person. “Our aim is to play with the viewers’ memories and to construct a representation inside their minds,” they say. “We never know what the final result will be. We are not interested in evoking a specific feeling, but in creating prints that trigger different feelings in different viewers.”
Alongside their artistry and imagination, the exhibition is a fundamental celebration of nature – particularly the spectacular landscapes unique to Japan. “Learning more about Japan and its aesthetics has allowed us to see the world with fresh eyes,” the pair say of their relationship with the country. For Hoppen, the show is also a reminder of all we could lose if today’s harmful climate practices do not change. “In a time when we have been forced to contemplate nature and our position within it – their work illuminates its infinite beauty and power.”
As Far As The Eye Can See is on view at the Salon at Connolly 4 Clifford Street, Mayfair until 16 March 2022.