‘Instax Girls’: Natural, Feminine Beauty Captured by Rafael Mesa

Rafael Mesa is a Valencia-based photographer and designer with a sincere passion for instant and analog photography. His interests vary from watching indie/horror movies to having smart-talks with people around him. He’s been always looking for bringing the special (or how he says, the “different”) out of the common, ordinary type of things.

Mesa shows a deep respect for his predecessors. His style is strongly influenced by widely known avangarde sacred monsters like Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Francesca Woodman or Nan Goldin. He was inspired by René Magritte’s “La Philosophie dans le Boudoir” for one of his personal series.

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“The woman’s body is the most beautiful subject for photography”.

Cultartes: I’ve always been curious about one thing: How and where does an independent photographer find the girls?

Rafael Mesa: For my personal work we generally come to know each other on social networks: Facebook and Instagram mostly. My friends supported me a lot, too. I’m always looking for natural “girl next door” type of person, really secure about themselves and their body. I send them my portfolio and explain the mood and style I am looking for.

Where did you ‘suck’ your influences from and what is your personal touch in photography? What’s that make people say “this is a Rafael Mesa piece”?

It’s hard for me to describe it but words like real, honest, feminine, and natural are the most I hear when someone describes my work. Keeping things simple and straightforward is a must for me, it counts too. My primary influences are indie movies, old French films, music. A source of inspiration comes too by working with models with odd and special beauty.

How did you come up with “Instax Girls”?  What are the ideas and the story behind it?

I’ve always loved the analog and instant photography, added to my fondness towards the female figure and you have the perfect recipe. Besides, I’ve always hated the over-processed look of the fashion and portrait shots of many magazines. I want to present my muses in the most real and honest way possible and the instant film is magical for that. Also it gives a unique character to each shot.

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It looks like an ongoing project, which makes me ask: for how long will you keep developing it?

I don’t see an end for Instax Girls, while I have film and have a chance to meet interesting people there will always be material to continue the project.

Tell me a little bit more about your own photo-interview online publication – Contraluz

It’s a blog of interviews of Latin photographers I admire. Pro or amateurs. I wanted to offer the opportunity to make themselves known to other artists. One of my reasons other than finding new talents is to give a help I may not have had in my beginnings. And I try to make each interview as personalized as possible.

Which was your biggest accomplishment in the field so far?

Knowing that my pictures generate emotions and having them posted on some websites and magazines I admire (including yours).

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“I want to present my muses in the most real and honest way possible”

“Beautifulness” is the word I find most suitable to describe your creation. What would be yours?

The general consensus is that my work is different; I prefer that word better than great, nice or something like that.

What are people’s reactions when they stumble on your artworks in general?

So far it all has been positive and I really appreciate the fact that many consider my work a form of art. It is the best reward.

Any upcoming projects, collaborations or personal events we might want to know about?

Publishing a book was always a dream for me. Also some zines and doing workshops, meeting new and inspiring models. Traveling with my work and my lovely girlfriend.

Photo credits: Rafael Mesa. Check out Rafael Mesa’s portfolio here. Follow him on Instagram for more.

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Romanian self-taught writer, based in Cyprus, interested in contemporary art, unconventional culture and gonzo journalism. Writing for almost a decade, he is agnostic, supports a censorship-free society and reads way less than he wants.

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