Portrait | Winner

Rodrigo Illescas

Provincia de Buenos Aires / Argentina www.ilusionopticafoto.com.ar

Are you There?


They act in their intimate theater, but the theater also is the whole city, and the actors are legion, and the drama crowned by silence embrace many days and many nights.
In this complete immobile abstraction that even pain and terror are absents; living creatures seem to listen and watch over some of their organs, the heart, the secret and irreparable course of the blood.
Windows opened to nowhere, empty the time with wild and crude light.
The body breathes, not faster, deeper.
And their hearts endure. Because it seems that the heart can endure anything, anything, anything…
They are there, in silence, fragmentary. They are a part of history and an incomplete part of their own history. But they are there. Guests of their own world that puts them at the center of the scene. We live in a hyper-connected society but the question is what kind of communication we intend to have with the other. Because it seems to be more like a “varieté that fills life” than the great theater of the world.


Rodrigo Illescas was born in Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires in 1983. In 2013 he received the degree of Professional Photographer in the School of Creative Photography of Andy Goldstein.

He published books of poetry, "Also everything", editorial Vinciguerra, in 2007; "Razia", editorial Mono Armado in 2014.

Currently he is teaching in the School of Creative Photography and Aloha Photo School.

Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb
Galería Pilar Riberaygua, Andorra
National University of Villa María, Córdoba, Argentina.
Sasha Galety, Córdoba, Argentina.
PhotoDays Festival, Croatia.
Are you there?, Somerset House, London.
Are you there?, PhotoDays Festival, Croatia.
Are you there?, Gallery "Iliya Beshkov", Pleven, Bulgaria.
Museum of the University of Alicante, MUA, Alicante, Spain.
Galería EFTI, Madrid, Spain.
Photogalety National University of Villa María, Córdoba, Argentina.
Are you there?, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Italy.
Are you there?, Festival Promenades of Vendome, France.
Are you there?, Tatent Latent, International Festival of Tarragona, Spain.
Are you there?, Contemporary Art Museum of Mar del Plata, Bs. As., Argentina.
Museum of Bellas Artes “Benito Quinquela Martín”, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Museum Provincial de Bellas Artes “Timoteo Navarro”, Tucumán.
University of Belgrano, Night of Museums, Bs. As., Argentina.

Awards and Grants
Selected Finalist Leica Oskar Barnack Preis, 2015
Grand Prix, PhotoDays Festival, Rovinj, Croatia, 2015
1st Prize, Portraiture, PhotoDays Festival, Rovinj, Croatia, 2015
1st Prize, Portraiture, POYLATAM, México, 2015
Shortlist, Portraiture, Professional, Sony World Photography Awards, 2015
Shortlist, Phodar Biennial, Bulgaria, 2015
Selected Process Room V, Madridartprocess, 2015
1st Prize Mark Grosset, Promenades Festival of Vendome, France 2014
1st Prize Audience Award, Festival Promenades of Vendome, France 2014
1st Prize IILA - Photography, Rome 2014
Grant MACRO - IILA, Rome 2014

Jury Statement

In Rodrigo Illescas’ mysterious ‘window pictures’, the concept of portraiture is lent a dimension that goes far beyond the classic definition of portraits. These pictures could perhaps be described as ‘nocturnal psychograms – images in which the inner and outer worlds communicate with each other by means of a discreet gesture or the body-language of the respective protagonist. Through windows, he lets us take a glance into the intimate, private spheres of persons unknown to us, not as voyeurs, but rather as members of an audience watching brief theatrical vignettes. Illescas’ images are not merely portraits of individuals, they also tell moving, melancholy stories – albeit without a clearly identifiable narrative thread. It is therefore left to the viewer to imagine how each story could end. Illescas reveals his mastery in the way he leads us into his hidden world of the theatre and invites us to participate.