Juan Palacio’s work often hits you like a punch to the stomach: even if there’s nothing grotesque or truly obscene about his pictures, they can come at you like a scream. In many ways indebted to a punk essence, they bleed humanity and seem eager to share some of their secrets.
If you were never to meet him, you would still get the sense that his images are propelled by honesty, which can seem scarce in fashion photography. Surely his formative years in graphic design help, a field to which he initially veered fearing he couldn’t afford to live practicing what he really loved. Happily photography’s pull was strong enough to make him take the plunge. Yet there’s a conflict between his deep attraction to the artistic aspects of fashion photography, its visual richness and the possibility of creating moments and spaces that revolve around attire, and his urge to render the ‘realness’ of human eroticism and physique, with an unflinching eye for the unique features of every inch of skin. That tension can seep into his compositions in intriguing ways, both alluring and imposing. And it pushes them to walk a tightrope between the expectations we hopelessly hold regarding beauty and ugliness.
Check his portfolios: they explore and blur the limits between documentary, fashion and erotic photography, all with a penchant for suggesting questions more than answers about the possible narratives they create. As sometimes is the case in love, with his pieces what seduces you is not the feeling of knowing or understanding the totality of the scene in front of you, but the promise to keep finding new meanings to what we cannot help but feeling and doing.
Words by Alvaro Giron.