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Carmen Iniesta and Arantxa Romero Garcia, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Carmen Iniesta and Arantxa Romero Garcia, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Ursula Lopez Lopez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Ursula Lopez Lopez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Crystal Renn, New York City, 2007

Crystal Renn, New York City, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Eva Maria Garrido Garcia Yerbabuena, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Eva Maria Garrido Garcia Yerbabuena, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Claudia Benitez Robles, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Claudia Benitez Robles, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Pepe Conde, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Pepe Conde, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Vicky Barrea and Carmen Iniesta, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Vicky Barrea and Carmen Iniesta, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Samantha Santiago Alcon, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Samantha Santiago Alcon, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Josefa Rodriguez Aparicio, "Pepa de Molina," Outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007

Josefa Rodriguez Aparicio, "Pepa de Molina," Outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Esperanza Fernandez Vargas, Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Esperanza Fernandez Vargas, Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007 

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007 

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007

Amalia Smith, New York City, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Rosa Elena Garcia Echave, "Rossy de Palma," Paris, France, 2009 

Rosa Elena Garcia Echave, "Rossy de Palma," Paris, France, 2009 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Matilde Coral, Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Matilde Coral, Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Carmen Iniesta and Samanta Alcon, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Carmen Iniesta and Samanta Alcon, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Cantera, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Cantera, Outskirts of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Maria del Mar Montero Murillo and Fabiola Perez Rodriguez, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 

Maria del Mar Montero Murillo and Fabiola Perez Rodriguez, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Salvaora Ramos Fernandez, Antonia Reyes Valencia, and Salvaora de Rebeco, Outside of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007 

Salvaora Ramos Fernandez, Antonia Reyes Valencia, and Salvaora de Rebeco, Outside of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Rosario Montoya Manzano, "La Farruca," Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Rosario Montoya Manzano, "La Farruca," Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Yolanda Hereida Caldero, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 

Yolanda Hereida Caldero, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Concha Vargas Torres, Sevilla, Spain, 2007 

Concha Vargas Torres, Sevilla, Spain, 2007 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Devla Yali Amaya, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Devla Yali Amaya, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 1

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Francisca Soto Monje, "La Currita," Outside of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007

Francisca Soto Monje, "La Currita," Outside of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Rosa Elena Garcia Echave, "Rossy de Palma," Paris, France, 2009 

Rosa Elena Garcia Echave, "Rossy de Palma," Paris, France, 2009 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Maria del Mar Moreno, Outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, 2007

Maria del Mar Moreno, Outskirts of Jerez de la Frontera, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Carmen Pantoja Bellido, "Carmeluchi," Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007

Carmen Pantoja Bellido, "Carmeluchi," Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Lakshmi's Turn, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Lakshmi's Turn, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Outside Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Yolanda Heredia Caldero, Outside Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Esperanza Fernandez Vargas, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007

Esperanza Fernandez Vargas, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Elena Maria Damico Carambano, "La More," Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Elena Maria Damico Carambano, "La More," Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Lakshmi Katrina Pekarek Basile and Fabiola Perez Rodriguez, Sevilla, 2008

Lakshmi Katrina Pekarek Basile and Fabiola Perez Rodriguez, Sevilla, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

The Eternal, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 

The Eternal, Bullring Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Ursula Lopez Lopez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008

Ursula Lopez Lopez, Cantera, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2008
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007 

Estudio de Baile Alicia Marquez, Outside of Sevilla, Spain, 2007 
16 x 20 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 25
30 x 40 Selenium Toned Silver Gelatin Photograph, Ed. 10

Biography

Ruven Afanador is an internationally renowned photographer of limitless imagination, powerful vision and profound sense of self. His work is distinguished by an opulent classicism nuanced by an irreverent point of view. His idiosyncratic visual language is informed by the fierce emotion and lavish style of his Latin American heritage, filtered by an exquisitely mannered elegance saturated with singular erotic charge.

Ruven Afanador was born in Colombia, in the sixteenth century city of Bucaramanga, La Ciudad de los Parques high in the scenic plateau above the Rio de Oro. He lived there until adolescence, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and immersed in old traditions and enchanting rituals that imbued everyday life with mystery and wonderment. Religious ceremonies involved the meticulous costuming of saints and marked every holiday, turning narrow colonial streets into rich visual feasts where ordinary objects acquired symbolic meaning; elaborate beauty pageants showcased glamorous women of deliberate beauty and intentional charm; and long hours were filled with the reading of adventure books or listening to the improbable tales of those coming back from journeys abroad, a peculiar form of imaginary traveling which nurtured an intense curiosity for faraway places.

At fourteen, Afanador moved to the United States to attend school in the Midwest, right in the American heartland, a starkly different place from the magical world of his childhood, but one he saw as full of possibilities. And then, while studying art, he discovered photography. “From my first assignment I knew that photography would be my life’s passion”, says Afanador. With that passion, he would transform ordinary reality into captivating splendor. Or, as he himself puts it, “....into my way of seeing things.”

After graduation Afanador spent two years in Washington, DC, gaining distinction as a fashion photographer of audacious taste, as well as a portraitist with an original and inventive eye. In 1987 he moved to Milan to broaden his vision, hone his technical skills and build a portfolio. Lack of studio space in the Italian city, forced him to develop techniques for photographing outdoors, in alleyways and streets, on the steps of churches and palazzos, incorporating backgrounds to frame images with texture and depth, a highly conceptual approach that Afanador uses to this day. While in Italy, he also discovered the type of model, that was to become his prototype: interesting rather than conventionally beautiful, of sculpted neck and arms, and the graceful long torso for centuries favored by painters----enigmatic and timeless.

He returned from Italy in 1990 with an impressive portfolio, settling in New York and soon coming to the attention of editors at the major magazines. Since then, his distinct fashion editorials, signature advertisements and iconic portraits of the emblematic beauties and powerful male figures of the worlds of contemporary art, literature, music and film, have constantly appeared in the world’s leading fashion, celebrity and portrait magazines. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and installations in galleries, museums and outdoor spaces in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States.

But it is in his three books that the singularity of Afanador’s rare aesthetic and charged eroticism become truly evident. In his first book, Torero, a collectors’ item among fashion and photography connoisseurs. he presents black and white images of matadors from Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, using the conventions of couture photography to bend masculine stereotypes. In Sombra, his second, he employs nineteenth century photographic techniques in a collection of erotic male nudes in poses inspired by the gestures and movement of classical ballet. And, in the recently published Mil Besos, he celebrates the women of flamenco, capturing them in surreal photographs in his inimitable black and white, once again twisting pre conceived notions of beauty.

In his extensive body of work, Afanador has created an intensely personal language characterized by the balance of bold emotion and delicate nuance. The expressive images in his books and fashion editorials reveal extravagant dreamlike sequences that seem to emerge from Afanador’s original imagination already full grown, always splendid sometimes mischievous, often decadent, all steeped in classic formality. In his portraits, he unfailingly pierces the carefully wrought personnas of the beautiful and powerful symbols of our age to expose their essence with eloquent certainty. In a recurring theme, he juxtaposes startling masculine force and surprising feminine strength to challenge conventional definitions of gender and beauty with confident audacity. Joining such legendary artists captivated and inspired by the beguiling traditions of Spanish culture as the composer Manuel de Falla, the poet Federico Garcia Lorca and the filmmaker Carlos Saura, Afanador pays homage to the great painters, who, like Goya, have portrayed its unique splendor. In focusing his expert lens in the most astonishing manifestation of this quality with an eye solidly planted in the avant-garde, he crosses to the eccentric realm of the ground-breaking films of Luis Buñuel and Pedro Almodóvar, while the surreal quality of his enchanting composition places his work alongside the stories of his fellow Colombian and iconic archetype, Gabriel García Márquez, showcasing with worldly sophistication the spellbinding Latin American aesthetic that is his singular subtext.

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