The RaphlexNYC

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In honor of our brand new photo-gallery, we bring you a profile on one of our official Remezcla photographers, el paparazzo de los paparazzis, el arequipeño más atrevido, The RaphlexNYC.  You may know him—and his ubiquitous camera—from parties such as Nacotheque, Fresa Salvaje, Monoluna, Smells Like, and more… or maybe you recognize his dance moves from the Bulgarian Bar (aka Mehanata), his home-away-from-home.  Either way, this guy is out-and-about, and documenting it all, originally for his own nightlife blog, then for, now for Remezcla, and soon for his own site as well. Here, he talks to us about his time-consuming nocturnal hobby….

Name: Rafael Flores-Contreras

Age: 28

Raíces: Profundas y distintas

Hometown: Arequipa, Perú

Currently living: Everywhere….

Day job: Industrial Designer

Camera: Fujifilm s9000

How and when did you start taking pictures?
When I felt my day job was getting unbearable…

How’d you get into nightlife photography?
I was doing my nightlife blog at the time y una noche a famous music magazine was sponsoring a release party of an alt-porn movie in a now non-existent famous venue, but since this was an alt porn company (very indie ), none of the magazine’s photographers knew  who the actors or actresses were … I did, and took many pics of them…since i knew them all from the underground party scene.  Next day, I was called by the magazine and offered to work with them.  Indeed, right moment in the right place.

Where do you take pics?  What parties/events?
Downtown is my reign, I wander everywhere from 2 to 4 places in the same night….

How many nights do you go out a week?
On average, I would say 5.

Best cure for a hangover/lack of sleep?
I’m still looking for that! So far, 4 red bulls one after another does the trick.

How do people usually react when you start taking pictures of them?
It varies with the amount of alcohol…. the more, the merrier.

Why do you think people like to have their picture taken and posted online?
It’s a natural need for attention… Por que no darles 10 minutos de fama?

Do people come to expect to be photographed at parties? Is it a given now?
It’s the fourth element… ahi tienes la música, el alcohol, la gente …ahora la fotografia. A party without a photographer is definitely not worth it.

But doesn’t the presence of a photographer hold people back—o sea, does it make them more conscious of their antics?
Not anymore.

Do you ever get annoyed with people asking you to take pics of them? Do you ever say no?
YES and NO

Have people ever asked you to take a picture down off the internet? Why? Do you oblige?
Sí, claro…  pero por comun entendimiento y acuerdo (and soon model release …), I’m in charge to decide what goes and what not.

You have some pretty compromising pictures of people (myself included….), and you’re nice enough (most of the time) to not always post the worst ones. Are you saving those pics for chantaje?
Que comes que adivinas!!

Is there rivalry with other nightlife photographers out there?
It’s more respect for each other’s work.  Everyone has a territory, a crowd; trabajas con lo que tienes en las condiciones que se den.  Pero con sobre todo… Huevos.

Who do you admire of the veterans?

What’s your style/technique?
Do I have one? Could you tell me?

Do you take pictures of everyone or do you look for certain types of people? O sea, what attracts you as a photographer? Beauty? Style? Attitude? Skin? Drunkenness? All of the above?
Let’s just say that colorful people attract my eye.  I don’t take really take pics of “grey” people, if you get what I mean.

What’s the ultimate photo, when taking pics of people at parties? The more scandalous the better?
The ultimate photo is the one that a second later is no longer a good picture.

Who’s the most memorable person you’ve taken photos of?  Most famous?
My grandfather is the most memorable. The most famous, I’ve just lost count… plus, fame is relative.

Who shows up most frequently in your pics?
The people who deserve to be famous… for better or for worse.

Do you like having your picture taken?
By me!

What’s with taking sexy pics in the bathroom?
Por que no!?!?!  After all, it’s the most intimate place… más bien, cuando te animas?


What role have the internet, MySpace, and digital cameras played in nightlife photography? In photography in general?
Hacerlo mas accesible llevandolo a las masas…a lugares reconditos…no se puede definir aún el impacto al futuro.  Pero una imagen habla más que mil palabras.

You take your camera with you everywhere… any crazy camera stories?
Las he roto…me las han robado…las he perdido..todo en nombre de la vida nocturna, la buena vida y la poca vergüenza. Crazy stories…Todas!

Do you ever run into people you’ve taken pics of at parties in broad daylight? Is it weird?
Es horrible…….la coherencia es traumatica.

Do you ever worry that your boss/mom/girlfriend will see your pics online and realize what you’re REALLY up to at night?
Por eso no pongo lo peor…

Y por útimo, que carajo es un cosmopolatino?
Mírame como te vieses en un espejo.