Creative duo Daniel Rueda and Anna Devís find wonder in seemingly ordinary places. As two former architects, they incorporate elements of buildings into their whimsical compositions in which a model (often Devís) is perfectly coordinated with different facades or blends into the scenery.
“Our backgrounds in architecture have completely shaped our way of seeing the world,” Rueda tells My Modern Met. “As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be doing this if we hadn’t studied that particular degree.” Travel, even if it’s within the same city, is an integral part of Rueda and Devís’ process. “For us, every image has to tell a different story and, in order to do so, it needs a unique location to be told in.”
The photographs also depend on precision. A model, for instance, must be standing in a specific spot, in a certain place, to maintain the illusions that are an essential part of their work. “There’s nothing random or fortuitous in our work,” Rueda reveals. “We get to decide every single element and how it affects the narrative of the image. This also allows us to chase a certain type of mood and tone that helps us build a cohesive portfolio of images where, even though every photograph tells a different story, it does so in a very homogeneous way.”
Because planning is required, all of the compositions start with a sketch. They brainstorm the project, and Devís translates it into “little drawings” that turn ideas into reality. “In this part of the process, we usually realize we need something that has to be produced, like a human-sized Tetris piece or a rainbow-colored paint roller, for example. All of our props are handmade, that’s why some of our images take so long to bring to life!”
A common feeling that comes from Rueda and Devís’ work is that of marvel—you can’t help but wonder how they find so many amazing spots. “As important as the props needed for the image are other things like the outfit of the model and the location of the set. These two variants always fulfill a very important role in our work, that’s why we spend so much time scouting for unique places and clothes even when we are not working on a particular project.”
So while the images might look “simple,” they are anything but that. “At first glance, one would probably think that most of our images are not very difficult to capture because of their modest appearance. But, with the passing years, we’ve learned that achieving this level of simplicity is really, really complicated; which makes the process of creating each image a completely different and unique adventure!”