5 MINUTES WITH... Jordi Ruiz Cirera

After another incredibly successful year of LPA Student Challenges, we thought it would be fun to catch up with one of the winners from last year. Jordi Ruiz Cirera won our 2012 LPA Student Challenge Number 3 and named the LPA 'One to Watch' which couldn't be more true! Since winning the LPA Student Challenges, Jordi has gone on to win the AOP Student Awards 2012, the Deustche Bank Award for Photography 2012 and the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012.

Here's what we gleaned from him in our '5 minutes with...'.

⁃ Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I'm a documentary photographer from Barcelona based in London. At the moment I'm combining personal long-term projects with editorial and corporate assignments.


© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

⁃ You had an incredible 2012, what was your personal highlight?

Indeed I still can't believe it, I had a year full of celebrations and good moments. It started just graduated from my MA, and not long after that I was on the Sunday Times Magazine which was fantastic. Just a couple of months later I was named the AOP Student of the year, another really good highlight widely celebrated. But of course the best was winning the Taylor Wessing portrait prize, I am truly honoured of getting such a competitive prize considering the high level of the entries.


© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

You’re originally from sunny Barcelona, how does London compare as a city for creativity and inspiration?

I think London is great for inspiration, since there are so many things going on here. There are many factors on why London is good place for creative people, but I think the main one is people tend to come here from elsewhere with an idea in mind, and they work hard for it.  Life here is not easy, besides the weather, everything is really expensive, takes a long time to move, and competition is fierce. But all this can play an interesting role in pushing you forward to work really hard if you want to get your work out there.

⁃ Can you tell us a little about your experiences with the Menonites? How was your time with this rather secretive community?

It was an incredible time. I was living with them for a long time, and it's an experience I will always remember. They've a very humble and simple lifestyle, everything goes pretty slow, and adapting to that environment was shocking coming from London. But as well as really interesting and rewarding, it was sometimes very difficult and boring, I was only able to speak with a few people on each town, since they speak a German dialect, so most of the days were spent watching them doing things and speaking amongst themselves.


© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

⁃ Who/Where do you turn to for inspiration?

My inspiration has changed quite a lot in the last years, I can definitely say that since moving to London I've broaden my photographic interest. At the beginning I use to follow classic reportage photographers from Magnum, such as David Alan Harvey or Koudelka. Later on I became more interested in projects mixing different photographic approaches, like Gun Nation by Zed Nelson, or portrait projects like Purple Hearts by Nina Berman. Currently I'm enjoy documentary projects using an original or unusual approach, like Raphael Dallaporta or Jonathan Torgovnik. I'm also really interested in large format photography, would love to get the time to work on it.

⁃ At LPA we’re proud to say you were one of the LPA Student Challenge winners, do you feel this experience furthered your career?

Yes sure. It was the first award I got from the Mennonites work, and it kind of gave me the support to think things were going on the right way. It was great for promotion and visibility and I think it opened some doors.

⁃ What are your plans for 2013?

Quite a lot. At the moment I'm working on a year commission for London based charity Historical Royal Palaces. Besides that I'm looking for other editorial and corporate commissions that may come, and preparing an exhibition here in London of the Mennonites project. Also, 2012 was a great year but really didn't had much time for personal projects, so I'm planning three during this year, one in that I'm currently working on in Spain on the economic struggle, then one in Palestine, and another in South America, where I may move for a couple of months.


© Jordi Ruiz Cirera

⁃ Who are your favourite up-and-coming photographers?

Well I really don't know many up-and-coming  photographers. I recently discovered a few amazing photographers that were new to me and pretty young, but they have already been working for a while. One of them is Jim Mortram and his work on the community around his own home, just unbelievable. Then other young photographers but widely acclaimed like Liz Hingley or Laerke Posselt. Daniel Lilley portraits are great and I'm sure he'll be doing more great stuff.

⁃ If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?

Good question... Currently I enjoy being a photographer as much as I can, but if I ever got tired I think I'll do something completely different, maybe move to live in the countryside and switch off the computer!

⁃ Where are your favourite places to hang out in London?

One of the things I like the most of London is the pub culture: the city is huge, and the boroughs are really different, but no matter where you go you'll find a nice pub around. As for the places, I quite like to hang out not far from my house, in Dalston or Clapton, or go to some of the weekend markets in Broadway Market or Chatsworth rd. But one of my best discoveries is around Hackney Marshes I really love all the life around there, from the canals to the local pubs.