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Conversation with photographer Isaac Calpe
interview by Santiago Neyra

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‘I think reading time is my greatest strength.’







We started a conversation with Isaac, a Catalan photographer based in Barcelona who appeared in our first edition "what is time?" In 2021, a few years have passed in which we see him develop and work on new strengths and creating his own identity, we sit down to chat with him to enter his imagination

First of all, thanks for taking the time to answer us and to be part of this family, let us talk a bit more about you. What would be the 3 words that describes you?

I don’t know if it’s a bit of a of a difficult question, especially when it comes to yourself, but I would say:


We see in your work a very human and sensible touch, what would you said are the beauties that moves you... we can guess a few

That sensitive and human touch that can be seen in my photos, I think, comes from all the Japanese influence that I have had since I was a little boy.

From a very young age, I was the boy who read comics, loved anime, and was a super fan of Studio Ghiibli (in fact, I have the VHS tape of the Spirited Away movie at home).
To this day, I am still the same person with similar tastes, but the fact that since I was young, those hobbies have marked me, I think, has made me see life in a certain way, more like a photographer who has to capture in his work the world that is around us.

At STOIC we believe that there is endless beauty in the most unexpected places, what is for you that place?

I believe that any space can be beautiful; it just depends on each person’s vision. I think that each person’s own vision of a place, object, etc. is unique and wonderful, and through it, the rest of us can learn and observe.

We can talk about historical places, places where we have gone on vacation, places that have been part of our lives and are totally everyday, and in all of them we can find a lot of beauty.

In my case, the place that can be seen in the photos has been my favorite place for a period of time, corresponding to a past relationship.





I loved passing by there almost every day, noticing the drop in temperature, the leaves rubbing against my legs, being able to see the sunset at the end of the path...

Looking at the photos now, I think I really liked going there because it meant spending time with the other person, it was a kind of door to a world of my own.

Acting, what does it mean to you? We see it in your work and that is like an accent for you, so does it tell you something special to you?

Acting is important for me in photos. At the end of the day, the job of a photographer is to be clear about the idea that is going to be in the photo, and the main part of this is to direct the model, since he or she is the one who is going to represent what we want to capture.

Personally, in my work, there are no super crazy poses or very elaborate acting; I like the models to be relaxed and calm. What I always tell them is: be relaxed and angry, as if you wanted to punch me, I want you to be angry with me.

Could you share with us your 3 favourite photos, the most personal, the ones you think are accidental self portrait, feel free to say what emotions or feelings does they bring.

I didn’t think this interview would get me so deep, haha, but I’m liking it.

To answer this question, I don’t know very well which photos to choose because I see two styles in my work: more focused on fashion and, on the other hand, more daily and archival photos. Since I don’t know which three photos to choose, I will choose three of each of them.

I think these are my three favorite photos of editorials and fashion work. I think they have my essence—that simplicity and everydayness that characterize me.

One of the themes that I usually work on, even in an indirect way, is youth, adolescence... that time of impasse from when you are a child to being an adult, and for me, in these photos, it is very well reflected.

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These photos are more personal; it’s me in my mind with a camera. Many times, a disposable camera, an expired roll of film, and without really knowing what I’m doing or what I want, just doing it.

One of the things I learned from Ryan McGinley is that it doesn’t matter what instrument you work with, as long as you’re working, and it doesn’t matter that at the beginning you are not clear about what you want to say or what your speech is, as long as you go for it and believe in what you are making.

I think that personal work depends a lot on the person’s experiences, but these three photos you are seeing are already more than ten years old, and I still like them today as much as the first day I took them.

They talk about me, about that period of time as a teenager, my entry into my 20s, and the relationship I had with a boy.

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“Japanese animation” ?

As I have mentioned before, I am very influenced by Japanese animation, and very specifically by Studio Ghibli films. Many times when I am working on editing, retouching photos, or am at home, I put their films on in the background and listen to them; they help me concentrate and immerse myself.

I also wanted to mention that within these films and in Japanese culture, there is a term called “MA” that describes silence, everyday life, and pauses to see the world around us.
In the studio’s films, it is very common to have a sequence of several seconds where nothing happens; we see a train passing by, a character lying on the grass, a landscape while it rains... This, I think, is what I fall in love with most of all, and that is always what I try to convey in my photos—that pause and everyday life.

One of the greatest influencers for this on a photographic level, for me, is Rinko Kawauchi.
A Japanese photographer who bases her work as an artist on documenting the life that is around her, with a unique look, makes the most common things into authentic treasures.

How do you think emotions & photography are related?

Emotions are always linked to the photographer, mainly when shooting, in terms of dealing with people and team, but more importantly to what we want to say with our photos. At the end of the day we are people who are guided by that, feelings and emotions and that makes us make the decisions to continue.

In the artistic world, if we did not rely on our emotions we would be robots.

Do you keep a personal journal? How much does photography is in your daily routine?

Currently, I am not keeping any journal or personal photo diary, and the truth is that I miss it.
I think my entire personal archive ended in 2017, at the same time as the last romantic relationship I had.

What I do is have a personal account on Instagram where I upload all the photos I take with my phone, where it doesn’t matter what you see, without any filter or anything.
That helps me see my day-to-day life in the course of time and also helps me download everything I have on my phone.

I remember in college, we had to make a kind of diary, and what I did was buy one of these cheap notebooks at a stationery store and clip in all the photos I took with my phone the last week I was with that boy in 2017.

That’s always good, printing your work to see it, edit it, and know what you like, and even more so if it’s something personal.

This is a tricky one, what does the word “strong” mean to you? What would you say are your strengths?

For me, the word “strong“ has a lot to do with union and understanding.

I believe that people can say that they are strong themselves if they can clearly understand who they are from within, and I also believe that something will be strong if a lot of people are there, a lot of people help, and they give their grain of sand.

Although I must also say that something strong and beautiful can also emerge from oneself,.
I think my greatest strength is that, with the passage of time, I know more clearly who I am and what I want. Yes, I think I am a person with leadership, creativity, and loyalty to my team, but those are things that in this sector you have to know from day one to be able to work.


I think reading time is my greatest strength.

We are arriving to the end, we would like to know, what have you seen in the new wave of

I have seen a lot of things, but lately I try not to be too aware of networks or the work of other people who I don’t know.

I think that there are many artists and photographers, that everything has already been invented, and that you have to work hard to become someone in this industry.

I remember once someone told me that in this world of photography, there were two paths to follow. One, being honest with yourself and authentic with your style, that’s when people will notice you and you will have work, not needing to follow any of them, a fashion or a trend, and the second path to take was the opposite: see what trends there are and do them regardless of your message or your work; simply do what the rest does to be one more and achieve some work.

Therefore, if someone is thinking about being a photographer or an artist, I always encourage them. You don’t have to be clear from day one of what you want to say, and it can be changed many times because it is from that path and the changes that we learn what we want and whay we like.

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