At the age of nine, Juan González Andrés (Donostia, 1977) made his debut as a photographer with a compact camera he was given as a first communion present. Much later on, his maternal grandfather bought him an analogue SLR camera for an optional course on the journalism degree he only studied because he liked joining letters together. When digital came along he decided to take picture hunting a little more seriously and invested his scant savings in the first Nikon.
He has always been a journalist and currently works as Culture editor on the newspaper Noticias de Gipuzkoa. He also moonlights as an occasional photographer, hiding behind the alias El Humilde Fotero del Pánico – literally, The Humble Panic Snapper, paraphrasing the Spanish title of Michael Powell’s great film Peeping Tom. He specialises in shots of concerts – whatever the style: he’d even enjoy snapping a traditional zarzuela – and almost without meaning to has ended up being published in the likes of Rockdelux, Entzun and The Balde.
He lacks method and makes up for technique with intuition: he just tries to bag a good spot and wait for what a French genius called “the decisive moment”. He’s still frustrated because he didn’t photograph Tom Waits’ concert in Donostia and Neil Young caught him while he was away. He can’t imagine going to a concert without his camera and if he could build a time machine he’d visit two golden ages: that of jazz and that of CBGB in New York. He dreams of capturing – if it actually exists – the perfect leap by a musician and twice a week he awakes from a recurring nightmare: all his hard discs burn out and he loses his archive of several thousand photographs.
Some of them are on show at Zuzenean, his first invididual exhibition. It’s dedicated to family, friends, musicians and in particular to the few charitable souls who pass him a cold beer as he stands there alert, squeezed into the front row with his finger hovering over the shutter.