Alain Gutiérrez: a
note at every moment
ALAIN Gutiérrez (Havana, 1975) is
already a recognized photographer. His portraits of
New Trova musicians, old cars (the so-called
almendrones) and diverse parts of his native city
have revealed a good eye for detail and composition.
He has returned to captivate
spectators with the exhibition 20 acordes de un
cíclope (20 Chords of a Cyclops), effectively
displayed in his Sala Majadahonda in the
Pablo de la Torriente Brau Center – his – because he
has worked there regularly for more than 10 years.
Two currents within the Center have
come together, inevitably, in this electrifying
show; the reference is the Digital Art rooms and, in
particular, the A Guitarra limpia concerts,
where Trova music – new, very new, whatever – has
its safe corner in the building’s beautiful patio.
This time, Alain Gutiérrez has
distanced himself from journalism, for which he has
composed different photo-essays and, although the
images are taken in situ, he has intervened in them,
like the digital artist he is.
In this exhibition the protagonists
are not people, but guitars, their strings, the very
act of music, the capturing of every instant which,
for him, has a particular note.
The conversation with Alain
Gutiérrez, an always selfless contributor to this
publication, took place in the Sala Majadahonda
itself, and he explained in detail each one of the
photos selected for the exhibition.
Does this room move you?
For the first time I am on my own in
the Majadahonda. It is a natural space to offer my
work to other people and now, being here and
exhibiting is a luxury for me.
20 acordes de un cíclope?
They are 20 images that I took, some
of them last year at the Nach Jazz Festival in
Bergen, Holland, where I was invited as a
photographer, and others this year during the singer
Rochy’s Cuban tour, titled Contracorriente.
Are they manipulated photos?
In essence, I wanted to escape from
what I have traditionally done in journalistic terms,
less information, I fled photographic conventions in
order to exploit images, more like a painter. From
the digital point of view, I took the colors to
extremes, contrasted tones a lot in an attempt to
achieve the different images that I wanted. They are
testimonial photos. I have made a small intervention,
but they are not manipulated, the scenes are as they
are, what you see is what they were.
The guitar as protagonist?
The protagonists are not people,
although there are figures in some of them, but the
very act of music. What I wish to convey via the
images is how I felt the music. It is the reality
which I saw, the music that I felt, I want people
not to see photographs, but the chords which emerge
from the strings.
I work with a digital camera, it isn’t
analogous, it’s the technique. I wasn’t afraid of
the pixels, nor the grain in the photos, I like this
as an effect, as a texture.
Some technical details?
The camera is a Nikon 3,000 and I
shot in raw format, a crude format which doesn’t
have a digital interpretation and allows me to give
the interpretation that I want; that’s why I could
do large prints. Raw is an interesting format,
without a mathematical interpretation, it’s like a
digital negative. You can make any intervention in
the photo without losing the original.
How much did the guitar influence
I have worked in the Center for 12
years, and also with musicians in the A Guitarra
limpia program, I’ve learned some of the
movements, it’s like the ballet photographer who
knows when a dancer is going to jump, which turn
s/he is going to make; with the guitar I already
know at what moment it’s going to be plucked and how
to be on the stage without distracting the audience
but capturing what I want. I have learnt to
anticipate the movement.
Through the use of appropriate light,
decisions as to what tones to utilize, what color to
gauge or which detail to magnify, Alain Gutiérrez
has achieved these photographs grouped together in
the magnificent 20 acordes de un cíclope
exhibition. In them, there is the suggestion of a
silenced note, the violence of a movement, the
desired chords, the total magic of the guitar.