Ricardo Cuadros was born in Concepción, Chile, in 1955. He holds a PhD in Latin American Literature from the University of Utrecht. He has published the novels Orientación de Celva (1993), Constelación del Monte (1996) and El fotógrafo belga (2006). His poetry is gathered in Navegar el silencio (1984), Poemas del hambre y su perro (1996) La veloz (2014) and Artis (2014).
Summary of photo exhibitions:
2016. ¨Album de Chile. Retrato de una nación¨. Santiago de Chile.
2016. ¨Contraluz¨. Bob Vlakehuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2013. ¨La curvatura del tiempo¨. Solo exhibition, Casa Museo la Sebastiana, Valparaíso, Chile.
2010. ¨Con-Sequences¨. Sidac Studio, Leiden, The Netherlands.
2007. ¨Meanderen aan de Maas¨. The Netherlands.
2004. ¨Portraits¨. Espacio 1308, Santiago de Chile.
1998. ¨Dislocación¨. Solo exhibition Instituto Chileno Británico de Cultura, Santiago de Chile.
1987. ¨Portraits¨. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
1986. Foto Roosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
1983. Filmhuis Arnhem , The Netherlands.
1982. Solo exhibition, Gallery TNO Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.
2015. Black&White. Special issue 2015 contest winners. http://www.bandwmag.com/
I began taking and developing photos when I was 16, in my home town, Concepción, Chile. A friend of mine, Juan Saavedra, had a photo lab at home and we spent what little money we had on film, photo paper and chemicals.
We were not very selective about the subjects we photographed - friends and family of course, the landscape, people in the park, etc.- nor did we have a plan or photographic project but we really enjoyed the many hours we spent in the small dark room next to Juan’s bedroom.
Fortunately, his family was very open-minded- I´m talking about Chile in the early seventies - so we could work day and night if we wanted, listening to Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Los Jaivas, Manduka and folk music from the Andes. The future was our’s, we dreamed of traveling all over the world making photo reportages, perhaps of becoming filmmakers, but history was not on our side: in September 1973 our country entered the dark times of a long dictatorship.
I left Chile in April 1978. I had lived almost five years under Pinochet’s dictatorship and felt lost and deeply sad. My first period in Europe was a hard one - I traveled with no money, friends or relatives - and I was lucky to survive. At the end of 1979 I moved to the Netherlands and began living the way I had always wanted: devoted to literature and art.
I bought my first 35 mm camera in 1980, a Pentax ME Super and since then haven’t used any other brand or model. For medium format, I had an old Hasselblad but after some years it broke down and only recently did I consider getting another one.
I stopped sending my negatives to a photo lab around 2000. Since then, I’ve been developing the b&w rolls myself. I scan them and save the images I like on the computer, keeping the negatives as a backup.
So far I haven’t done much in digital. I grew up in an analog world but after a period of trial and error I started enjoying digital too. I think I´ll start using them both, and choose one or the other depending on the circumstances. After all, the important thing is to put technology at the service of the photographic eye, not the other way around.
Amsterdam, March 2016