Born in Venezuela, Raul Alejandro Cabrera Ruiz studied architecture in the university. Now a Paris-based full-time photographer, Raul builds his style on his experience in building design and his impressive client list includes Mcdonald's, Marriott International, EDF France and DS Automobiles among others.
1. How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it for a living?
My interest in photography started when I was a kid. I had a compact camera that I used for fun. My mom used to photograph, so she taught me the basics. Later she gave me one of her cameras as a gift. During my years in architecture school I started to explore more with photos. For me it was always a hobby and a way to express my creativity. I enjoyed sharing my images and I started getting a positive reaction. As soon as I moved to France I saw that response increased. Brands boarded me to collaborate with them. That gave me more confidence to create and propose my ideas until I got to the point where photography was absorbing a big part of my time. That’s when I decided to give it a try. It took me a long time to consider myself a photographer. I always thought I still had a lot to learn (I still do). At the end I understood that you are never completely ready to do something, you have you try, fail, learn and that’s what makes it exciting and makes you grow
2. Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
I have my favorites photographers but I learned by myself. When I started taking photos I was still in architecture school, so I like to think that my eye was trained by modern architects like Mies, Le Corbusier, Kahn, Niemeyer and Carlos Raul Villanueva. Composition, repetition, scale, space and order were concepts that I learned to design buildings and now I use to create images. That has a big influence in what I do in general.
3. What was your first photo-related job?
I think my first photo-related job was a documentary work for a friend who was doing street art in Caracas. It wasn't even a paid job but those photos were later published in a national magazine and newspaper, so I was really happy about that. Then, my first big official job as a photographer was being part of the Instacorps, a group of five photographers selected by the UN Foundation to shoot the backstage of one of the events for the COP21 in Paris. It was a great experience.
4. Has there been a point when you’ve taken a big risk to move forward?
Yes, moving to Paris has been definitely my biggest risk. Leaving my country, my family, my friends, my job and everything I had to start from zero has been a learning experience.
5. Are your family and friends supportive of what you do?
Yes, my family has always been very supportive no matter what. They like what I do and they always support my decisions. My friends are also very supportive. Most of my friends work in creatives areas so it’s always good to have a feedback from them or ask them for advices.
6. Where’s home and how living there influences you?
I’m from Venezuela but Paris is where I live now. Latin American culture is very different to the European. It’s been a little bit more than 2 years since I live here but 2 years is nothing compared to my others 27 years, so I’m still enjoying the “surprise” factor which the new place brings. This city has a big influence in what I do and the way I see everything.
7. Do you have a routine?
Not really. I try to avoid routines because I get bored. I think I have a routine only for basic stuffs like, waking up, drink coffee and check my emails, then it depends of how busy I am that day in particular. Another habit that I haven't been able to change, and I think I never will, is working at least until midnight. I work better at night.
8. How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as minimalist. I like to show my ideas with the least amount of elements. The composition is very important to me. I see a photo as a paint, where every element has to be well place.
9. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such great imagery?
I think the city is my principal source of inspiration. I’m a completely visual person. I try to frame everything I see. I can be easily distracted if I see something that catches my attention. It could be a film, a graphic design or others photographers’ work. Being exposed to this kind of images makes me want to create.
10. Why did you join Alter-View?
Being represented by an agency is a good opportunity to get my work promoted. I also liked the idea of being part of a community of photographers with different backgrounds. Every photographer in the team has a particular style so I think I can learn a lot from them.
To see more photos by Raul, click here: