Perfectly Imperfect: Albarrán Cabrera (1969)


Learning to see is a never-ending task. The Spanish artistic duo Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera discovered that using photography they can nurture their interest and have a better understanding not only of  'the things' themselves, but also 'the why of things'.


Albarrán Cabrera believe the more resourceful a photographer is, the more ideas can be expressed. Thus, they research in their darkroom to find techniques that better express concepts through their work.


The Japanese concepts of wabi and sabi are among the most difficult to fully understand. But creating photographs with a wide range of processes and materials, such as gold leaves, platinum and cyanotype emulsion or gampi paper, they can use the medium as a tool to comprehend these concepts.


How Albarrán Cabrera photograph is very much influenced by Eastern philosophies with which they became acquainted during their extensive travels to Japan. They experienced that Japan offered them a completely different interpretation of reality compared to our Western conception. We all live in the same world, but it is interpreted from many, and totally diverse, points of view. The Western world is obsessed with symmetry and perfection. We understand beauty shaped by universal laws, granting great importance to the perfect and the eternal. The Japanese see beauty in the impermanent, the imperfect, the rustic and the melancholy. They long for what is not eternal, slightly broken, modest and fragile.


Albarrán Cabrera feel that these aesthetic-moral values of wabi and sabi have helped them “to open our eyes to the new aesthetic sensibility of those who are able to gain peace and serenity against the lightness of being of all earthly things that are destined to vanish with time.” For them, the aesthetics of wabi and sabi has placed them on the way to an imperfect beauty that leads them to the infinite beauty.