People talk about him, many only know him for his amazing work with photos, others follow his collaboration projects, but only a few have been lucky enough to be portrayed in one of his shots. Brazo de Hierro, today, has become one of the best photographers of the current fixed scene, with his photos well known around the world.
In this interview we will give you the opportunity to know more about who is behind this acclaimed watermark. We hope you enjoy it, becasue for us it has been a pleasure.
1. Who is Brazo de Hierro?
Brazo de Hierro, apart from looking like a supervillain name it’s the alias that I use for professional photography, something I’ve been doing since 2003. My name is Albert and I am from Girona, well, from a little village called Vidreres, near the city of Girona. Since the beginning of 2014 I’m living in Barcelona, as in recent years all of my work was centered in the city.
2. How did you get into photography? Your first camera?
I started photography in 2003 in Vidreres, as I mentioned in the previous question and everything came from the world of graffiti, where you also need an alias for painting. As graffiti is an ephemeral art, you have to keep photos of your work. This made me discover and begin to be passionate about photography. My first photos were with a compact camera Fujifilm Finepix S5000, which I still have. Even before I used the Konica T4 of my father, which he used to take pictures of the cars that are competing in rallies that happened in the mountains around my hometown. Anecdotally, I was always hypnotized by a photo taken by my father of a car number 127, if I remember right, taking a curve on two wheels. Maybe seeing it again and again and playing with the camera, later took me to dedicate myself to photography.
3. Why this name?
The story is a bit long, but I will summarize a little bit.
In 2006 I had a work accident where I caught my left arm with a mechanical door. That led me to the fracture of the humerus, one of the hardest bones to break according to the doctors and then the operation. Which, consisted of placing a titanium rod inside the bone that goes from the elbow to the shoulder, with two nails on his shoulder and two more nails in the elbow. Since then, Brazo de Hierro was born. The story has more anecdotes, but would be extended in the next interview! lol “Brazo de Hierro” – The Arm of Steel
4. The signature of your work gives you a second identity, Did you search this kind of “anonymity” from the beginning?
Initially no, but as coming from the world of graffiti, where you have this second identity, I kept it. I still maintain the anonymity but no longer as strict as years ago.
5. The quality you reflect on the photos that you realize you have become one of the most requested lens of the current scene, do you expect this response a few years ago?
The truth is that no, and sometimes it surprises me how far my work can reach. I’ve been relatively little in the world of cycling, especially in the fixed gear and my knowledge of this is not very extensive, but I have fun doing the pictures and I feel comfortable in that field.
6. Why type of photography you prefer?
Portrait photography and advertising, is what I like and I take more time to work on it. Both on personal projects and commissions for brands.
7. What is the hardest part of being a photographer?
I could say the typical sentence: “As things are now, how hard is to keep working in this field” but no. The hardest part of being a photographer, is to be a photographer.
Right now, with all this technology it is easy to have access to a more or less good digital camera. Everyone can photograph and “take pictures”. But to consider yourself as a photographer, is not so easy!
I do not mean to compete, because I think that there is job for everyone. I refer to the profession that takes you years of learning, perseverance and often testify of dedication and sacrifice. And that a lot people do not value or directly, do not see. Sound like a cliché but I’m tired of hearing, “the only thing you do is push a button, and the photo comes”. Not so, before pressing that button, in my case, there are more than 10 years of learning. That if it is not so easy to be in the eye of the storm and fighting day after day. 10 years pass very fast … Something that many people or too little value and for that reason, it is easier to access a computer photo and there is little value to the profession, is why I think it’s hard to be a photographer.
8. Tell us a little bit about Thelema Artworks.
Thelema Artworks, are Fran Molero, Guy Perez and myself. Each comes from a different branch of the audiovisual scene. For example Fran and me, we come from a job over guerrilla, street self-taught, and Guy comes from film with vocational training and much more technique. Inside Thelema each one has his department. Fran assembly and editing, Guy of direction and realization and I photo direction and color correction. The good thing is that all 3 we edit and assemble video, recorded, etc. Each one with their pluses and minuses, but when someone doesnt know something, other two do.
9. Any other projects that you collaborate?
One of the projects with I’m working with is 100% is “Pedalea o Revienta“. A group of unconscious, crazy and evildoers the only thing they can think to do is to set challenges in fixed gear, for example: Barcelona-Valencia in a day, or La Volta Catalunya in less 24h… Come on, one step of a single day over 300km. And as I like these crazy guys, I join them to make graphic evidence as a video and pictures of everything they do. We are already preparing the next challenge and this time I think they have lost the head with what we have at hand … I think that what I love about being a part of Pedalea o Revienta.
On another hand, last year I was an official photographer of the first RHC Barcelona, portraying different riders who came, and capturing different moments of the race. From that, some of my photos are being used this year for the No. 2 RHC Barcelona, advertising and posters, to tell the truth it is an honor for me. Well, this year we repeat again with Thelema Artworks. This year we are preparing everything to make an official video of RHC much better than the last. Also, I have another project in which one of my new passion of portrait photography and cycling, but so far I can’t say!
10. A phrase that expresses your passion for cycling.
More than a sentence for me would be just one word, FREEDOM.
11. Thanks to…
Before anybody, I would like to thank especially to Enciclika (Ferran, Cristian, Jordi Tamayo) who were among the pioneers in Barcelona of the fixed gear. I am where I am now, in large part thanks to them, so thanking them is little!
Also I would like to say Thank you to Pista Barcelona (Jaume Mas and Vicenç Català) that from the first moment they opened the door to walk about the Horta Velodrome as my home and get to know the track cycling. Thank you Senseis!
To my mindless Pedalea o Revienta, who are like my second family! Above Fran, Dani and Simonet, for trusting my photographic eye to capture their follies and have to overcome other challenges that are not pedaling to carry out our adventures.
Thanks to DeathXlane group, for letting me know the darker side of punk and fixed gear and move with them around the city to get a more urban scene photography.
Thank you very much Raw Cycling Mag and the whole team for this interview ¡is an honor!
And of course, all the people that follow my work!
More info on: brazodehierro.com