Interview: LEO ADEF

-Let's first talk about yourself. You were born in Argentina, and spent most of your life in Buenos Aires. Why did you decide to move to Barcelona?
I lived in Buenos Aires until I was 22, and there’s where I studied and had my first jobs. I worked in television, where I learnt a lot of things that were very useful for my future career, but I needed to change my scenario and look for new opportunities. I had been in Barcelona a few times on holidays and I always had the idea to move here. At first I moved to study a Master in Cinema Direction, and when I finished I decided to stay a bit longer because I was doing some personal projects. After that, some jobs started coming my way and now, after more than three years, I feel like at home.

-In your projects, the main topic you reflect on is adolescence. From musical videos to photo shoots with young models, the aesthetics and environment always invites to discover a world ruled by teenagers. What is so appealing about adolescence? Adolescence is the period where experimentation, rebellion and discovery are at their finest. I always felt that I lived my adolescence kind of from the outside, observing and thinking a lot but not doing everything I would have liked to do. I found in my projects the way to relive infinite adolescence periods with guys that invite me to theirs, teenage years I didn’t live and in which I recreate myself and I create for my works.

-For SPECTRAL,you choose to travel to Berlin and discover the private world of young teens in their homes. Your projects have been based in several cities around the world, giving a new perspective at every shot of the lives of teenagers in different places. How do you define the differences between teenagers everywhere you go? Do you choose every place based on your expectations? I feel that all the places and cities are different. Every adolescence is different but at the same time they all tend to revolve around the same topics: love, friendship, sex and uncertainty. I generally go to big cities that I really like and see what I find there. But recently, I directed a film called “Our own private scene”, in which I portrayed a group of friends who were 17 years old in a very little town from France, where there is practically nothing to do when you’re a teenager. I could perceive there how important is the context and the prejudices and mentality of the surroundings when you are an adolescent.

-SPECTRAL inspires intimacy, sensuality and erotism. In every shot, a new perspective on youth is reflected, creating a very personal atmosphere. What makes you able to be a part of such a private world? I think that we share the same point of view in which we perceive the world. We are young and we feel the need to express ourselves and tell the world what we see, feel and discern. The mainstream media were always the ones dictating the canons, fashion and aesthetic styles. Our generation is one of the first ones to have more tools to express something different, queer and personal. That’s why I celebrate everyone that creates a new space where we, the ones that feel different, can express ourselves and tell something new.

-What and who inspire you? I am inspired by the street, internet, the night, dark and hidden places, art and bodies. I am also inspired by Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Gregg Araki, Bruce Labruce, Matt Lambert, and many others that I am forgetting right now. But my biggest source of inspiration is the content created by the young people, that they share in their Tumblrs, Facebooks and Instagrams. I have many folders of material that I keep from them and that I usually use as an inspiration for my work.

-In previous projects, like Summer of Love or VAMP, love and sex are central in your story. Why is it important for you to reflect on these topics? As I was saying before, that’s what I am interested in and what I am trying to explore at the moment. I don’t believe in the kind of romantic love we’ve always been told, and I am interested in exploring the big spectrum that exists of sexual and affective relations that enrich me and make me learn a lot at the same time.

...-You've worked with I-D, Nowness and have directed a video for the club Apolo in Barcelona. How was your experience creating for such big names? Being called by these to create for them was incredible, because I love these sites so much. It motivated me a lot to keep on working on new projects.

-What are you trying to say with your work? What's the main motivation behind your photography? I don’t contemplate to transmit any message, I just do and explore along the way about the stuff that I think of, trying to improve from a project to another, and trying to find my own voice and spread it.