Loose Joints, 2023. First edition. Section-sewn open spine softcover, 176 pp., 70 colour illustrations, 210 x 300 mm. Photographs by Felipe Romero Béltran. Text by Caterina Borelli, Albert Corbí, Youssef Elhafidi, Zakaria Mourachid, Ricardo Quesada (English / Spanish).
Winner of the 2023 Paul Huf Award
Winner of the 2022 Aperture Portfolio Prize
Shortlisted for Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation 2023 PhotoBok of the Year Award
The poetics of documentary, performance, and choreography combine to politically interrogate the dead time of bureaucracy for young migrants stuck in the Spanish legal system.
Dialect covers three years of state violence for nine young Moroccan migrants exiled in Kafka-esque limbo in Seville, southern Spain. When underage migrants enter the country illegally and cannot be verified as adults, their custody remains in the hands of the state – subjecting them to a lengthy process of up to three years to gain legal status.
In this state of suspension and liminality, Beltrán engages with the body as a metaphor: using a carefully articulated language between photography, performance and collaboration, the weight of dead time is registered upon the shoulders of these young men, entering into dialogue with their memories, journeys, and the humiliating mundanity of waiting and migration. Alongside video works and choreographed dance, Dialectbreaks new documentary ground to shine a critical light on practices of bureaucratic oppression.
Felipe Romero Beltrán (b. 1992) is a Colombian photographer based in Madrid, Spain. Beltrán focuses on social issues, dealing with the tension that new narratives introduce in the field of documentary photography. His practice, characterized by its interest in social matters, is the result of long-term projects accompanied by extensive research on the subject. Beltrán is currently completing a PhD in photography at the Complutense University of Madrid. His series Dialect is the winner of the 2022 Aperture Portfolio Prize.