Dreams from Benidorm: An Interview with Roberto Alcaraz
Roberto Alcaraz, who goes by @benidorm_dreams on Instagram, is a photographer who grew up in Benidorm, Spain, and now lives near Barcelona, in a city called Sabadell. He documents regularly with his camera wherever he travels. Alcaraz photographs what he considers “ordinary places and ordinary things,” and turns them into vibrant, abstract, urban landscape works of beauty.
He adds humor and criticism to his photographs with entertaining titles, allowing the viewer a clearer understanding of the artist’s interpretation and thought process when he took the photograph. I was intrigued by Alcarez and his eye for photography and recently had the chance to talk to the man behind the camera.
Where does the name “benidorm_dreams” come from?
“When I was young I worked in Benidorm as a carpenter. Some people started hiring me as a photographer. I made my first exhibition and I won two or three regional contests, so I started to dream and to study photography.
“This is the first reason to use the hashtag name “benidorm_dreams”. The second reason is that as you can see in my photos I like ordinary things, and Benidorm is extraordinarily ordinary, and the third is because a lot of people know something about this crazy Mediterranean city.”
Do you have any photographers that you’re influenced by?
“I adore Lewis Baltz’s artistic concept. I’m convinced he created one of the greatest and most powerful photographic corpus. He was the nightmare of the American dream, and no one like him speaks about the disaster of human intervention in the landscape better than he does with his photography.
“With Martin Parr, I deeply admire his irony. With my photos, I try to mix both irony and criticism, and a lot of people say that my pictures are nice, and it’s so funny. I approach horrible places, with the respect and the technique of architectural photography, I try to find something beautiful inside a reality that I absolutely don’t like.
“There are other artists that inspire me as well, ones on Instagram specifically, Claudia Zaggia @clauclauclau9, Brandon Lavender @brandonlavender, Natalie Christensen @natalie_santafe, Maria Cuesta @mctoro_o, Yrjo Lindegren @yrjolindegren, and Lucy Seaton @llssfoto.”
What camera do you use? Do you use any software to edit your photos?
“My prime lens is an old 24mm tilt-shift. I love my little 35mm 2.8, and a telephoto 70-200. My bridge camera has a 25-400 lens and it allows me to use it every day, everywhere. I also use a tripod sometimes, when I need to. For photo editing, I develop my raw files in Lightroom. I use some focusing techniques in Photoshop.”
Do you have any advice you’d like to give to other photographers starting out?
“If you want to make money, then become a dentist. If you want to become a photographer, well you’re pretty much screwed, cause you can never stop taking pics.
“Photography and my family are the most important thing in my life, more than my job or anything else. Simply I need to take pictures, some times I have worked as a photographer and sometimes I need to find another job, but my objective is always the same: to find a moment each day to take pictures.”
Written by Yung Tsai. Photos © Roberto Alcaraz.
Follow Roberto Alcaraz’s work on his Instagram account.