by John Edinger

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Jose Casquet is a photographer and retoucher, who works meticulously on every photograph he takes to ensure the best possible results.  His areas of interest are predominately fashion and portraiture, although he has said that he is willing to take part in any job or idea. Apart from his fashion and portraiture work, he has a passion for photographing abandoned and dilapidated structures explaining that, “It is in these magical places where you can capture enchanting images that take you back in time.”

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What were you trying to achieve by photographing so many neglected, abandoned, structures?

 It’s about capturing a moment, reminiscent of another time.

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The photographs are devoid of real people. Was this intentional, and if so, what was your purpose?

 My intent is to photograph a scene that captures what I am felling, and living through, so personally I don’t like to add people.

 When some place inspires me to do a photoshoot, I look for a model to realize my vision and stylize to create the image I saw in my mind.  They are two parallel themes linked to each other.

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Are there any elements you added to the scenes, or was it strictly what was already there?

When we find a place, we never ad any elements to the scene. We sometimes do rearrange things to create a stronger image.  As a rule, out of respect, we do not take anything from the location.

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Were there locations that were difficult to find or gain access to?

Almost all of the locations were hard to find. I had to go through a lot of information, search, and coordinate. Some locations require tickets or consent. Depending on the country we had to ask permission and comply, when traveling outside of our place of origin, we adapt and carry the memory with us.

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Were there any particular artists whose work inspired you?

When I create my fashion images, I am influenced by artists such as Tim Walker, Eugenio many of his photographs remind me of places I visited, and inspired me to do a photoshots of that nature.

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You have described yourself as a “strange person,” is that a quality you feel benefited you on this project?

I would say that the title of strange is suited to the work, not as much myself. Usually people in their spare time go on more traditional vacations. For myself, and those who share this hobby, it is much more appealing for us to go to these abandoned places, with history, not knowing where you’ll end up, and taking risks. That makes us different.

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What were some of the moments or feelings you remember most?

There were two places. One of them, in particular was a close trip from my province.  I was with a friend, we had decided to visit a place that it was a hidden, castle, it was difficult to access. We drove a long distance, though places with nothing to photograph. Upon arriving, to our surprise, we found an open door, and it was amazing what hid behind it. The feeling of these locations is always the same, a return to the past.  We really enjoyed the all of the decoration, and structure.

The other location was a former boarding school. We tried to gain access three times, on the fourth attempt we gained access finally, and entering through a window. Once inside we felt a sense of fear, and sadness. Each room had toys or remnants of personal belongings, of all the children and nuns who were once there. The rooms seemed to come alive. The empty theater, and church were the places that caught my attention the most.

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What were the most challenging parts about making the series?

The hardest part was finding places, and figuring out their exact locations. I did much research. The next step could be quite dangerous, expensive, but sometimes it would depend on the day.

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What was the most gratifying part of the process?

The most rewarding part without a doubt, is when you get to enter the location. And entering adds the moments when you find things which are from someone else’s past, it cannot be described. When my friend and I were there, we walked around separately, without speaking, just looked at each other and our expressions seemed to foresee what may lie ahead. We get to a location, shot it quickly, and if there was time later, we would go back for another round at the same places.

Once we got home, we discussed everything from where we had been, and how we were safe, and ready to process the images.

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What was a biggest lesson you learned as a result of doing the series?

The conclusion we always come to is that, time passes quickly, we are becoming more modernized, with the latest new technology. We forget that those places did not have so many modern things, they lived differently, and perhaps enjoyed the best of life.  When you get to visit old buildings, find all the details inside and realize everything has changed.

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What message would you like viewers to walk away with?

I would like the viewers to enjoy what they do, and walk away knowing that everything we do is done with the utmost respect. And if they have dreams of doing something, reach to achieve them, I am trying to reach for mine. I learn from my experiences and I live. I will never give up.

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