Berenice Riu pursuits traces of visual harmony in her imageries, telling her own stories through little pieces.
When I was a little kid, one of my favorite games was creating and wearing costumes. I literally used whatever I had at hand to make them: from pillow covers to cardboard boxes. I wrote stories and lived more in the fantasy world than in real life. At home they were so sure: I was going to have a creative job.
And well, truth didn’t fall far, as I am a Creative Director working in the visual art realm. I’m currently running my own agency, Kima Collective, specialized in high visual impact imagery, and almost all my hobbies tend to have something to do with invention and creativity.
I believe that, looking at my imagery, you can find that small storyteller in there, as I try to balance a certain visual harmony with a powerful concept, a story that changes from piece to piece.
You can usually find carefully crafted details in my pics. Sometimes it’s a custom-made garment, hand painted or built backdrops and scenery or papercut elements. Again, that’s the crafting kid saying hi, still using colorful palettes because, even when I’m making a critical statement, I tend to leave a trace of joy.
I have a degree in Graphic Design and Multimedia, and I later took a Master in Art Direction here in Spain. I feel both things are profoundly related to how you build a picture, but in a broader sense.
My first shot with a photographic gaze was probably for a school contest. I still keep a medal from that. I liked it so much I took a photography course. Their approach was more focused on the technical part of capturing an image, rather than on building it to say something meaningful (that is where I feel at home), so that made me put my camera on a drawer for a while.
Still nowadays I do not call myself a photographer as much as a visual artist, because the process of my imagery has more to do with planning, art direction and postproduction than with the capturing process itself.
I use a Sony A7RII, whatever lighting tools I have access to at that moment and Sigma crystals. I usually do my post production work in Photoshop and Lightroom.
I love the feeling of creating things just for myself, beyond doing it for my customers. It is something that I have postponed too much in my life, so doing it now already feels like an achievement. I will gladly embrace whatever comes next.
I really like it when someone is able to appreciate all the work behind a picture, above the picture itself. I mean, some people think this is a ‘push-a-button and you’re done’ kind of thing, while others understand all the work involved.
What doesn’t? From movies to personal experiences and social claims, if there is something I never lacked, that’s inspiration and things to talk about. I am constantly doodling drafts on paper and taking notes for the next great idea that starts unraveling.
Reflexive, colorful and substantial.
9 - Congratulations! As the winner of the London Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
I opened my inbox and couldn’t help but to shout as I saw the email announcing me as a winner. I searched my name and saw my «Resolutions» series was Platinum Award. Then I realized that «Bloom», another submission co-authored with Javier Gamonal, won the Gold Award!
It’s a real high to see others appreciate what you do. We might have danced a little bit in the studio also, I can’t confirm nor deny it.
10 - Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 London Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
«Resolutions» (Minimalism Photography, Platinum) is a lighthearted, ironic series about those New Year’s resolutions that almost everyone makes, but almost no one gets to achieve. It is minimalist, conceptual and colorful in order to achieve that joyful quality I always look for. I think the beauty of it is you don’t need a text to understand what resolution is depicted in every piece, may it be quit smoking, eating healthier, etc. The series is intentionally cheerful and zero judgemental because I feel it is important to remember you have to have fun when trying to accomplish life changes, because arriving (or not) to that goal is less important than enjoying the trip.
«Bloom» (Portrait, Gold) is a metaphor of the emotional flourishing that happens when you accept, embrace and reveal your true self.
Again, vibrant colors, a conceptual approach and much of that aforementioned crafting inclination: there is no photomontage there, as all the plants and flowers you see sprouting from our model skin were carefully sticked.
It is a huge self esteem boost and a great motivation to keep creating things.
This will come as no surprise, but my biggest influence doesn’t consider herself a photographer either. Jessica Walsh has been a major inspiration throughout my career and she is hands-down the most uplifting example. She is THE boss.
13 - What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?n when starting a mentor or role model?