We meet Antonio in the Burger place ‘Lily Burger’ – where the chaotic tags on different coloured walls built a great background for our candids although the Colombian red head is a bit disappointed that he can’t pose for us. We talk about fashion photography, his alter ego Juan and his wife’s wardrobe.
Bogotá – Miami – New York – Berlin – the row of places he had lived in sounds quite cool. What is connecting all of them is Antonio’s creative soul and passion for photography, painting and fashion. Although having two brothers, he says he grew up among women – his mother, aunt, sisters and cousins – and therefore surrounded by fashion lovers. Whereas in Bogotá he spent a lot of time painting, he went into photographing parties and fashion events in Miami and New York. The 33-year-old is now happy citizen of Berlin, where he works as a freelancer designing websites and photographing which leaves enough of time for illustrations, art projects and him guiding night-time walks in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. He explores long exposures with tourists around Warschauer Straße and Schlesisches Tor and regularly ends the tour at the famous burger place ‘Bügermeister’ in Kreuzberg.
Antonio’s most ambitious fashion photography is taken backstage – where the magic happens and naked girls are around. Often he is kind of sneaking his way in, helped by coincidence or connections. “It is easy taking a good photo of a sexy girl”, he says “but I look for something more challenging.” So he started working with LGTB people – which gives the work in the often shallow fashion environment an edge and turns out a bit of a political statement. “I shoot for the fun, there is really no point of telling people how to dress. Style for me is expressing your personality with what you wear.” Since he is active in the world of fashion he pays more attention to his own fashion choices – but his favourite piece stays the red-inside green raincoat of his wife. “We have the same size and I love to wear her clothes!”
When rent and expenses are earned Antonio dedicates himself to art projects. The last exhibition he did was called ‘Me, myself and I’ and was built around him, Antonio, and his alter ego, Juan. Antonio plays with his double surname Juan Antonio and the different cultural implications. Called Juan by his mum and family, the name became unpronounceable first in the US and again in Germany for many people he met. So to them he became Antonio. Around the two characters Antonio built comic inspired photos, where the two aspects of his personality act like twin brothers. The next exhibition opens in October and showcases his LGTB photos.
Uniqueness and imperfection are maybe the two most important things to Antonio when it comes to his photography. He is very active in the lomography community, being their ambassador in Bogotà and Berlin. His specialty is using analogue lenses for his digital camera to get an analogue look and his beloved Petzval camera with it’s special colours and blurring backgrounds. And what comes next for the individualist? It took him a while to understand the Berlin winters, compared to N.Y. they are dark and grey – so that’s his first winter he is using for an escape to Bogotá.