Rafael Trapiello
(Spain, Madrid)
Photographer, PhotoEspana
In 2016 photographers from Spain visited Solovki to start working on a book. We interviewed one of the authors to figure out how it was.
How did you get the idea to tell about Solovki?
— In the first place the whole thing was a commisioned work to Juan Manuel Castro Prieto for Mare Magazine in the summer of 2015. Juan Manuel, who is my menthor an also a very good friend of mine phoned me to offer me traveling with him as an english translator. But soon we realised that we both could do a personal work in that place, as it has something that fits perfectly to our personal view.

What was the most difficult in the work?

— To establish a relationship with the inhabitants and the monks of the main island. Almost nobody spoke english. But then at the end of our first trip we met Dasha Morozova, a teacher of the Solovki School who speaks very well english. We hired her as a fixer and things became easier for us. Thank to her we started to meet people, families, monks, we could enter to their houses, talk with them and finally portrait them.

Solovki is a natural paradise but also it was hell not too long time ago, when the Solovki special camp, the model of the gulag system, was settled there. We both like to work with territory, memory and people, so Solovki is perfect for that.

Rafael Trapiello
Which time are you in Russia? What do you like?

— I've been three times in Russia. The first time was in august 2015, wen we traveled for the first time to Solovki. Later on that year, in november 2015, I was invited to participate in the Dialogue of Cultures in St. Petersburg. And finally, my last visit was in april 2016, again with Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, in our last trip to Solovki. Every time was special, but the last time was remarkable. To have the chance to see the White Sea frozen, to be more intimate with the people of Solovki and to become good friend of some of them is something difficult to forget.

Who developed the design of the book?
— Underbau graphic design studio are the team that made this fantastic object come true. They are a very reputed graphic designers in Spain, specially with photobooks. All te concept of the book, all this relation between paradise and hell that I talked about before, they have masterly transferred to for the book. A grey rough box that imprisons a very delicate book. Their work is a masterpiece of graphic design.
I also want to mention the magnificent text of Antonio Muñoz Molina, a very important writer of our country, who knows a lot about dictatorial repressions that took place in the XX century. His work is fantasticly acompannied with some of the pictures of Yuri Brodsky's personal archive.
Will the book be presented in Russia?
— The book is part of a huge exhibition which is opening on may 22nd in Centro de Arte Alcobendas, being part of PHotoEspaña international photography festival. An after will be traveling to some other museums all around Spain. So, for the moment, we have no plans of presenting the book in Russia. Anyway, we are opened to hear some offers.

Stay tuned:
Web-site: http://www.nophoto.org/rafaeltrapiello
E-mail: rafaeltrapiello@nophoto.org