Advocating for greater visibility of the LGBTQ community, Rainer Torrado wanders by night equipped with a compact camera. This Madrid-born photographer started his career in fashion, shooting for well-known designers from Paris to Antwerp to Hong Kong. Since 2017, the passionate, young photographer has turned his lens on Parisian queer culture.
Rainer seamlessly captures moments as they unfold at queer techno club nights such as Flash Cocotte, Parkingstone and Scorpio, to name a few. This project is known as Generation XXY. He shoots in the shadows of warehouse parties recording, and therefore creating a space for, bodies and sexualities often edited out by mainstream culture.
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 2.jpg
What themes interest you most in your work?
Trying to take good pictures, is that a theme?
I feel your photography shares a non-binary spirit with photographer Claude Cahun. Have you come across their work before?
I remember visiting the exhibition dedicated to Claude Cahun at Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2011. It was a retrospective exhibition on her photography. When I think of Claude Cahun, I have in mind words like ‘iconoclastic’ and ‘avant-garde’. I also have in mind the fact that art historians have neglected the life and work of nonconforming individuals doing photography or expressing themselves through other artistic means.
Who inspires you? What inspires you?
I consider myself quite curious. Outstanding cultural expressions can and probably will inspire me. Movies like In the Mood for Love or Blade Runner, the literature of Richard Ford, Tristan und Isolde by Wagner, the art of Francis Bacon, the sculptures of Richard Serra or Berlinde de Bruyckere, the photography of Gregory Crewdson, etc. The list is endless; cultural references are like places I visit every now and then. Recently, I'm obsessed with Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens), Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Cixin Liu (The Three Body Problem trilogy), Christopher Anderson (Approximate Joy), Paolo Sorrentino (La Grande Bellezza) and everything Anish Kapoor.
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 10.jpg
I would say you often leave identities very ambiguous in your shots – cropping out heads, bodies, framing figures in a way their sex is unclear. Is this a conscious aim to move away from binary concepts of gender identity and/ or (heteronormative) sexual identity?
The lighting, the framing, the composition in my recent work are a consequence of different factors. They're due to objective/technical and subjective/intentional reasons.  I consciously try to get close to my subject(s), to preserve their anonymity(s), to reveal just enough to have a picture without fully unveiling the mystery of a moment. But I try not to play with ambiguity though, at least not consciously.
Documenting non-conforming bodies can be understood as an act of defiance of culture that continuously ignores LGBTQ narratives (for example, the mainstream film industry, advertising, trans rights to identify their gender). Do you agree in 2019 our society still has a way to go for LGBTQ representation?
Absolutely. This is just the beginning. Lots to be done.
We met at a queer techno night in Paris. What do you think the purpose of these events is? Could they be shaping a new cultural or even political future?
Through my nights out in Paris, I can see that some promoters display artistic ambitions while rave organizers display ideological interpretations of partying. This being said, I usually see a commercial purpose behind each party. Profit is needed and sought after. And it’s not a bad thing. This way, the promoters can keep throwing parties where nonconforming, queer individuals can gather and thread connections – personal, artistic, professional, etc. The impact on contemporary culture and future politics is hard to measure but there is definitely an impact if you ask me.
Do you have a political message in your work?
Body is political. Gender is political. Sex is political. What's not political nowadays?
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 12.jpg
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Rainer Torrado Metalmagazine 4.jpg