Author Víctor Casas is the winner of the IV edition of the DOCfield Banco Sabadell Foundation Dummy Award for photobooks, with his photobook titled MAD.RUS.22/08. It is a book which tells the author’s story, together with his wife, to collect their adopted child from a Russian orphanage. The panel of judges highlighted the poetic, suggestive, elliptic and non-cryptic style of the book.
What does it mean to receive an award such as this one?
It means, not only recognising work carried out during the Master’s Degree in Contemporary Photography at EFTI, yet it is also very humbling to know that a project which is this personal and intimate has been recognised and valued for its context of an emotional journey.
Explain your project to us in more detail…
The creation process is slightly atypical. I started the project in 2016 whilst I was studying a Master’s Degree in Photography at EFTI. The images are from 2009, photographs which I took during the trip with the intention of documenting it, and above all, to have images which we would later show to specialist doctors in order for them to classify the child’s situation. I then stored the images in a “drawer” as I didn’t think it was necessary to show them to anybody, because they carry a lot of emotional weight. During the Master’s Degree I started to share these images and I realised that I had to share the story of the trip. It was a very difficult thing to do, but it helped me to somehow express the emotion of the trip. I decided that a photobook would be the best way of telling the story and I wanted it to be considered as a bureaucratic document of the process, and at the same time, through images of moving landscapes, I wanted to generate some “anxiety” prior to the ending.
What do you think about institutions such as Banco Sabadell Foundation supporting initiatives such as these, relating to photobooks?
I think that Banco Sabadell Foundation’s contribution regarding photobooks is very important in terms of supporting the author, and in this way it also facilitates more dynamic and universal access for the general public to photobook culture and the different forms of artistic expression.