Country Fictions by Juan Aballe

Juan Aballe published a really elegant book with Fuego Books about his “relationship with the rural environment and the emotions brought about by the possibility of taking the big step of leaving the city and living closer to nature.

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© Juan Aballe

What we get are pictures of people who seem to be liberated from the neuroses and manias that big city people have to deal with. The people Juan Aballe shows us seem to be caring about something else that has become rare in the consumerist culture in the larger urban regions of the West.

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© Juan Aballe

They are nourishing a healthy relationship with the rural world in which they are living. The characters show fearlesness towards the photographer (or spectator) and trust towards the future. They seem to have attracted the right spirits around themselves and their beloved ones. Their enterprise, it must be said, is all the more impressive because Spain is a country that is massively struck by what is commonly called “the crisis”. Its rural communities are disappearing fast and one needs to have a very good plan to go and live there today.

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© Juan Aballe

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© Juan Aballe

In this context, you might wonder, whether Juan Aballe managed to find a buccolic oasis in the economic desert which is Spain? Or, is he suggesting that it is only a fiction to believe in a wholesome future outside the big cities? Are all these people living in Country Fictions?

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© Juan Aballe

A photobook, by its very nature, is always proposing a fiction. But herein lies its power. In a photobook we find the kind of fiction that we need to deal with the complexities of reality. While leafing through this wonderful excursion to the pockets on the Spanish countryside, we are living a fiction from which we are retaining that alternative paths to the future are always imaginable.