Manel Quiros

Manel Quiros


by Manel Quiros (Spain)

Spanish photographer from Barcelona now based in Scotland (United Kingdom) and a member of the German G.N.S. Press Association. Studied professional photography at the University of Valencia where I specialized in digital photography and image processing. After 8 years working as a professional photographer in Spain, I moved to Scotland where I studied photojournalism and media. To date, I have featured in over 20 exhibitions and various publications.

Portfolio from the Documentary workshop with Patrick Zachmann, September 2014.

Written review by GAIA TRIPOLI,
Photoeditor New York Times International, France

Manel Quiros submitted two sets of images.

The first one is the assignment he choose during the documentary photography workshop in Amsterdam. Manel decided to focus on "We are here", an organization of mainly African refugees, who, after living in the streets, started cracking into empty building to look for a place to sleep.

Manel's project is well shot and well conceived, and it also mirrors his long time interest in refugees, which had let him to photograph them in Burkina Faso and Egypt as well. His experience with the conditions of refugees shows very well: in a very limited time, Manel has been able to make contact with his subject, convince them to allow him to photograph and most importantly to let him into their life. this has allowed him to become part of his subject life and successfully portray them with spontaneity and intimacy.

The pictures are strong, well composed, shot in a beautiful black and white and tell the story, bring the viewer into the small of the african refugees that are part of this organization and have to struggle to find a place to sleep. the project combines situationed images that provide us with a context, showing where they life, the building where they squat and the conditions they live in, with tighter images that focus on these man, their faces, their expressions, their thoughts, reminding the viewer of the fact that these man all have identity, feelings, a previous life.

This brings me to one aspect that Manel could have tried to pursue as well: he could have tried to highlight more elements from their past, using objects, pictures, letters, that they might have brought with them in their journey to a different life. this would have helped him create an even stronger emotional identification with them. One other thought: the bed is obviously an important element in this story: Manel has 2 image stat reflect that: picture 4 and 5. I would not mind seeing a more focused and intimate picture on this element. Another thing that could have broadened his work would have been, but this requires a longer time to work with them, would have been following the refugees in their daily life outside the building, which is something I would suggest him to do if he decides to continue the project.

The second story that Manel submitted focuses on Burkina Faso's booming mining industry, and in particular on children working in the mines. Manel here has some very convincing photographs, 1 - a successful opening picture, - a emotional portray of one of the miners, 9 - a good image showing the actual gold mining, 10, a man photographed with some posters depicting diamonds in the background, and 11, a miner pouring diamonds from a bag, with an other man in the background that gives the image a sort of ghosty quality to it.

Some other images though, show to be that he struggles a little with his photography in trying to capture some of the scenes of the mine. Sometimes his black and white and his composition did not help him in conveying clear scenes; in particular in images 2, 3 and 6 the viewer has to struggle a little to identify the elements in the frames because the scenes are sort of muddled. In terms of sequencing I would suggest trying not to put together images that are too similar in their framing and distance from the subject: again 2 and 3, 8 and 9. And I would suggest him to try to vary a bit more the scale of his photographs and his distance from his subjects, getting both closer and farer and also trying to photograph also some meaningful details. I feel that Manel misses a strong image showing the mining cap, while he has a very good opener showing the entrance of the mine, that also provides a good impression of its scale, as opposed to the small men in the frame walking towards it, which also adds a deeper meaning to it.

But what I think is even more missing is a stronger emphasis on the children' work in the mines, which he should have underlined more in his take. Again since this was the declared focus of his story, I would suggest to try to follow one the kids working in the mine through their daily life outside the mine as well, trying to create a contrast between elements of their childhood and the work the do in the mine.

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