Striking lines, intense color palettes, and thoughtful composition characterize the photography of Andrés Gallardo Albajar, a self-taught Spanish photographer based in Tallinn.
His penchant for mesmerizing architectural photographs is most noticeable in his ongoing series Urban Geometry, which has led him all over the world in search of new architectural heights and unique compositions. Despite having traversed the globe to capture unquestionably striking images, many of his most famous photographs come from childhood locations.
Raised in Alicante, he spent his childhood traveling to far off places led by his parents, both of whom were architects and who influenced his interaction with space and urban elements. He studied advertising and graphic design, but when he received his first camera, in 2012, he began turning his interests back towards architecture.
His work feels clean, unencumbered, and at times, evoking of a sense of calm. His unique and playful use of colors and composition has landed him in our Brand Cards collection as part of the “Colorful & Bright” style.
Andrés Gallardo’s work has been published in various magazines, books, and websites such as National Geographic, BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph and the Lonely Planet.
Join us in getting to know Andrés a little better.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get into photography? What piqued your interest?
I’m 38 years old and was born in Spain. I’ve always been interested in traveling and sports. When I turned 30, my mother and my brother wanted to get me some sort of special present. They came up with the idea of getting me a DSLR camera, my first one. It’s the best ‘material’ gift I ever got – it really changed my life.
Why did you choose architecture and urbanism as your main subject matters?
Like most photographers, at first I experimented with all kinds of photography, but I soon realized architecture and urban elements were my thing. I guess the fact that both my parents are architects had some influence on that.
What did you want to “be when you grow up” as a child?
As a child, I always dreamed of becoming a football or tennis player. I spent all my childhood playing these sports. Now I realize I’m probably happier just playing them with my friends.
What would you consider to be the guiding light of your work?
I’ve been told many times that the strongest part of my photography is composition, and I think I would agree with that. I studied advertising and graphic design, so one could say I have a strong visual culture, which is important when composing images. My mother is a great source of inspiration, and she helps me a lot when it comes to learning more about the architecture industry.
We have used this photo of yours in the Brand Cards. Could you tell us a bit more about the story behind it?
That photo was taken during my Christmas holidays in 2016. The place, Muralla Roja (in Calpe, Spain), has become an Instagram hot spot, receiving thousands of photographers and curious people each year, which led the management to restrict access to it.
The funny thing is, my mother actually took me there in the ‘80s, when I was a child and my parents moved to Altea, just 10km away.
You seem to travel a lot but are based in Estonia right now, isn’t it? What brought you there?
Adventure, I guess! After finishing my studies, I spent one year in Slovenia doing volunteer work. After that, I decided it was not the time to go back to Spain yet, and I had some friends in Estonia, so it was an easy choice.
How does Estonia influence your work?
Estonia holds a very special meaning to me, and in fact, my ongoing project ‘Urban Geometry’ was born in Tallinn. You can find series from Tallinn and Tartu on my website.
What do you think of the overall photography scene in Estonia? Do you have any favorite pieces or photographers that you think do good work? What’s trending these days? Can you foresee what is coming up next?
Estonia has a lot of talent in all artistic fields, including photography, of course. I personally like Holger Kilumets’ style and compositions. One thing I like about Estonians is that they are not afraid to take the plunge at a very early age, so that they gain experience very quickly and build strong portfolios in no time.
Another great Estonian artist is Eiko Ojala. He produces impressive illustrations.
You have done some work in Lithuania. How did you like it there? What were your first impressions and what are your best memories?
Yes, one of the first series of my ‘Urban Geometry’ project was shot in Vilnius. I really liked the mixture of contemporary and old elements with a Soviet touch — which was present in all aspects, not only in architecture. And, last month, I had the chance to visit Nida, which was really beautiful and calm.
Which project was the most challenging and fulfilling in your career? Why?
It would be hard to say. Maybe ‘Urban Geometry’ could be the most fulfilling because it’s purely personal and it gives me all the freedom I could imagine.
But recently, I had some large projects in Asia that were challenging and fulfilling at the same time. Last year I was invited to go to South Korea by Pinzle art magazine. I spent almost four weeks there, conducting a workshop, opening a small exhibition, and creating a lot of photos which were published in their next issue.
And I just came back after two months in Taiwan, where I was commissioned a photo reportage for a hotel, and I did some traveling as well, visiting and photographing a lot of architecture. And I just found out that some of these photos might be published in a book.
What alternate media are you most interested in exploring?
As I mentioned before, I studied advertising and graphic design. But I must admit that I never went too far with that, so my skills never developed much. But I really enjoy collaborating with other artists, mixing different media.
I did a couple of projects with illustrators such as Andrea Minini and Retoka, the Barcelona-based studio, which combined their great artistic styles with my photos. When it comes to photography, I’m quite attracted to infrared photography and did some experimenting with it, but I don’t feel very confident with it yet.
What do you find the most challenging and frustrating during photography commissions?
The most challenging part is to be flexible — interpreting and adapting to the client’s needs without compromising on your style. Although, I’ve never had any problem there. To this date, I haven’t had any bad professional experience.
The most frustrating things are the things that don’t depend on you. Once I lost a big campaign for a huge client because the client and a 3rd party couldn’t agree on the terms. It was the kind of client that makes electronic devices, so it would have been great for my career.
What do you find the most challenging in the daily life of running your practice? What would you rather have someone else do?
Accounting… I really lack the organizational skills for that!
What’s your next dream project or client to work with?
Have fun with any project you have and put a lot of thought into it. Take time to develop it with your client and you will see great ideas take shape, with patience.
What advice would you give an aspiring photographer of architecture and urban spaces?
Just do it!
We’ve really enjoyed getting to know Andrés, and we hope you did, too. Through his thoughtful composition, his ability to capture symmetry, and his use of striking pastel hues, his work forces a moment for pause in places that might otherwise go unnoticed.
If you’d like to learn more about Andrés, you can visit his personal website here.