Spanish photographers Anna Devis and Daniel Rueda (better known as Anna and Daniel) travel the world in search of the quirkiest buildings through which to tell their stories. Whimsical, colorful and full of joy, their unique style of photography takes the facades of buildings and turns them into works of art.
Anna and Daniel may only be 29 years of age but they have already amassed a list of corporate clients that would make any established ad agency green with envy. The two Hasselblad Ambassadors have been included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2020 List for Art and Culture, and Anna Devis has also been named a Hasselblad Heroine.
The quirkiest buildings in the world
The powerhouse duo travel the world seeking out eye-catching buildings to use as their artistic canvas. As trained architects, they share a unique aesthetic, creating surreal images without any photo-editing software. Instead, their compositions are set in real life, using paper, handmade props, colorful locations, and tons of natural light. The facades are often contrasted either with a precisely positioned splash of bright color or a model in a perfectly executed pose (usually Anna herself).
“Our goal with these images is to bring architecture closer to the people, one building at a time, using creativity and humor to spread the passion architects feel for the cities they design. In our work, instead of being relegated to the background, these sometimes mundane, yet always beautiful structures are brought into the spotlight, finally getting all the attention they truly deserve,” comment Anna and Daniel.
As architects and photographers, they are always on the lookout for new, interesting spaces. “We have a lot of ideas that we cannot wait to bring to life, but that won’t happen until we find the perfect matching location for it.”
No photo-editing software
All their props are handmade and, aside from some basic image processing, their surreal scenes are created without the use of photo-editing software.
“Everything you see in the picture was actually there at the moment we took the photo, including the sometimes unbelievable places in which most of our visual stories take place,” they say.
Very little is left to chance as Anna and Daniel prepare for an upcoming shoot.
“There’s almost nothing random or fortuitous in our work,” they say, adding that it is only possible for them to create an image when the concept and location are perfectly aligned. “As if that wasn’t tricky enough, all this becomes even more difficult abroad, since we only have so many days in a place when traveling.”
Before setting off on a trip, the two spend their time meticulously planning the shot, researching the buildings online, figuring out lighting conditions, sketching their ideas and assembling all the required outfits and props.
“We always try to leave with most of our homework done, but there are so many things to take into consideration that this is not always possible,” they admit. “Thank goodness there’s always room for some good, old-fashioned improvisation!”
Needless to say, 2020 has not been the easiest year for a pair of creatives whose work depends on travel.
Spain’s lockdown was one of the strictest in the world
“Our artistic production was compromised for a while during Spain’s national lockdown, since all our images are taken outdoors and we weren’t even allowed to leave the house unless we were going to the supermarket or the hospital,” they say. “Now that lockdown measures have eased, our workflow hasn’t changed that much. Don’t get us wrong, we can’t wait to hop on a plane and go somewhere we’ve never been before, but, in the meantime, we’re having a lot of fun discovering parts of our city we’d never set eyes on before!” they continue.
Anna and Daniel have always sought to connect people with architecture through their photography and they hope to continue to inspire in these uncertain times.
Optimism and fascination
“Our work conveys a slightly different message now that we’ve been asked not to travel unless absolutely necessary,” they say. “It’s one of optimism for the future and fascination for the world around us, which we have taken for granted for the longest time.
“No matter how long it takes to get back to normal, cities around the world will be waiting for us to come back. And even though we’re not around at the moment, buildings are smiling back at us, reminding us that the streets may be empty but the city is still full of life,” conclude Anna and Daniel.
The Spanish photographic duo is represented by THINK+ feel Contemporary gallery in Miami, Florida.
Four of Anna and Daniel’s most iconic pieces, in their own words:
Anna and Daniel on Face-ade: Is architecture photography boring? We don’t think so! We truly believe it all depends how you look at things. Buildings can be interesting and fun to look at! Consider this alley just a few blocks from our home in Valencia as an example. Is that a regular facade like any other with two simple windows, or a serious character waiting for someone put a smile on its face? It really is up to us to decide!
Anna and Daniel on Peek-a-Book: The Education City in Doha is not only an initiative for education, science, and community development. It is also home to some of the most iconic buildings we’ve ever seen! One of our favorites is this, the Multaqa Student Centre, the perfect place to stop by after class for a quick read, a proper game of hide-and-seek, or both! Why choose? You can have it all playing this little game we like to call Peek-a-book!
Anna and Daniel on Vitruvian Woman: Before our trip everyone kept telling us that, if we ever got the chance to visit Berlin, we must take a picture at the Marie-Elisabeth Lüders building. And so we did, clearly influenced by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. But now I’m not sure if it’s the perspective or if maybe those hard hours in the gym are starting to paying off, but wouldn’t you agree Anna is definitely starting to “get in shape”?
Anna and Daniel on Connect Four: I can’t stand board games, I find them either boring or overly complicated. On the other hand, Anna doesn’t feel the same way about them at all. She’s a true fanatic! Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, you name it! She can only forget about them when we are traveling, or so I thought… Because when we found out about 500 Brickell, a residential complex in Miami, she couldn’t stop thinking about this Connect Four idea until we actually turned it into a reality.