Sion Fullana

From Manacor to New York

The photographer Sion Fullana (Manacor, 1976) has lived in Manhattan for ten years, telling the stories of this metropolis with his camera.

What led you to live in New York for a decade? When I was 16 I visited New York for the first time, with my family, and I promised myself I would live there some day. Some time later I met the man who is now my husband, a New Yorker who used to visit Barcelona. This opened up the possibility of moving to New York and fulfilling my dream.

What did you do in the Big Apple? In order to survive in a city as demanding and charismatic as New York, you have to do what you can. And when you are a foreigner to boot, and you have to go through the madness of the immigration process, with visas and restrictions, it’s even worse. I collaborated with IB3 as a correspondent, I gave private Spanish lessons and worked in some catering firms. When I got my artistic visa, I worked as a photographer. I photographed the theatre gala of film and TV stars “24 Hour Broadway Plays”, I contributed to publications like Time Out New York, I did corporate jobs for brands such as Panasonic or Montblanc, and I have also portrayed gay weddings, actors, musicians, executives…

Why do you define yourself as a visual narrator? What do you like to narrate? I always knew that I had the advantage of knowing how to tell and frame a story, because I had studies both journalism and film directing. In my street photo work, I like to unite my two sides: the journalist, who likes to capture the vibration of the street, and the filmmaker who likes to place those elements in a framework or in a light that transmits an atmosphere.

What brought you to the iPhoneography movement? My husband gave me a second-generation iPhone and I began taking photos non-stop and publishing them on platforms like Flickr. For street work, the phone turned out to be a discrete tool for capturing moments without drawing attention to myself. I was considered one of the initiators of this movement. I was on the jury of the first international mobile photography contest, EYEEM award, I gave talks at the Apple store in Soho, I did exhibitions and my name came up in the first big report on iPhoneography in American Photo Magazine.

Now that you have returned to Spain, what do you miss about there? Without a doubt, my friends. New York is a metropolis of people who come from other places, leaving their families behind, so the connections that you come to establish with your friends there are much deeper.

When you lived in New York, what used to surprise you the most when you returned to your native land? What I don’t like about the Spanish mentality is our conformism. Anybody with a professional or personal dream will often fail to pursue it for fear of failure, because their friends or even their family discourage them, or because the crisis makes us more prone to prefer the “devil you know”. The culture of cronyism and string pulling has made us fearful. In the United States there is a more significant meritocracy culture. On the other hand, in that city where you have to work yourself into exhaustion, seeing your friends or getting a professional appointment was a scheduling nightmare. For ten years I missed the Mediterranean spontaneity of calling up a friend to say “I’m in your neighbourhood, fancy a coffee?

What do you most like taking photos of in Mallorca? I am drawn to the [...]


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