Ruven Afanador (Κολομβία)

Ángel Gitano: The Men of Flamenco

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Although celebrated the world over, flamenco is truly the heart and soul of Spain. This passionate gypsy art form consisting of guitar, voice, and dance has all the grit, drama, anger, and sexuality of a grand opera. It’s no wonder photographer Ruven Afanador was inspired to shoot and compile Ángel Gitano: The Men of Flamenco, a photo book celebrating the rich, folkloric tradition, and depicting its comely male performers in all their glory.

“Flamenco carries the full range of emotion, no matter the age of the performer,” Afanador says. “There is something very sensual and primal that’s always present.” Afanador was born and raised in Colombia, but for him Spain and its riches have always served as a muse. Dalí and Goya are huge influences, and Afanador has already devoted a book to matadors called Torero, and produced a gorgeous tome on the stunning women of flamenco, titled Mil Besos.

In Ángel Gitano, the lush, high-contrast black-and-white photos capture all the raw energy of flamenco’s wild movements and theatrical costumes, along with the beauty of the dancers’ flawless, sometimes naked physiques. “I have always loved to photograph dancers,” Afanador says. “They work so hard on their bodies, and they are such great artists and collaborators.”

Afanador shot most of the top flamenco artists in Spain, including ’90s fashion-world darling Joaquín Cortés. Glancing through his 244-page stunner, you can practically hear the Spanish guitar, the foot stomps, and the handclaps. Put a copy on your coffee table and crank up a track by flamenco singer Estrella Morente. Your home will be transformed into a far more passionate place. (out.com)