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  • B I O

Rafael Lacau

Photography - Filmmaker - Educator

I've always had a special interest in image. One day, while in my room, I was unexpectantly overtaken by curiosity when I heard a sad tune playing. It seemed my bed time, of lights-out and silence, was the beginning of life for another person. I walked to my neighbor’s door and knocked and then I met poetry and its typewriter walk, Billie Holiday with her wistful smoke and a black and white lab and its revealing magic. I think I'm still there. I have continued as a photographer, filmmaker and educator since those days, infused with that dormant image.


Daysies for the poor


At the beginning of 2012, Argentina published a decree closing imports, this directly affected the life of Josefina Oldani, and her international transport company. With looming economic crisis, she is forced to reduce expenses, move the office to the living room of her apartment and lay-off her housekeeper, abruptly blurring her living standards. The burden of compensations for early termination, debts to suppliers and downsizing, overwhelm her with worries, fear and loneliness.


  • VEFFNY: Best Documentary 2015
  • CaracasDoc : Best Documentary 2015
  • Surdoc, Chile : Honorable Mention
  • Venezuelan Documentary of the 21st Century Screening at the 2014 National Meeting of Documentarists, Caracas.
  • Video Library of the 2015 Guadalajara International Film Festival: Screening
  • 2nd Documentary Film Festival, Mérida 2015
  • 7th Exhibition of Ibero American Cinema, Nicaragua 2015.

Production: CNAC, Universidad de los Andes/ El Observatorio. Director, script- writer and photography: Rafael Lacau. Editor: Leonardo Henríquez/Ricardo Chetuan. Music: Fabián Máximo. Sound Mixer: David De Luca.

Production: Carlos Henríquez/Museo de la Palabra y la Memoria. Director: Rafael Lacau. Editor: Ilka Valdés. Photography: Alejandra Fonseca. Music: Nascuy Linares. Sound Mixer: David De Luca

Miradas de Cipotes

During the ‘90’s Central America experienced a time of social unrest. Driven by the rebellion struggles in Nicaragua, an insurrectional movement called Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) emerged in El Salvador. It established its main operating area in the North of the country, especially Morazán. The armed conflict lasted 12 years, resulting in thousands of casualties, disappearances, human right violations, and murders such as that of Father Arnulfo Romero and other Jesuit priests who raised their voices against the attacks. The war finally ended in 1992 after the parties signed the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico.

“Miradas de Cipotes” tells the story of a group of children from Morazán who after a photography and video workshop begin a process of reconstruction of historical memory, interviewing their relatives about what happened during the years of the war. Most of the men were in the guerrillas, while the women and the elderly were displaced to refugee camps in Colomoncagua, Hondura.

The story is woven through the tales told in several interviews made by each of the children. Chiyo and his entry into the war at the age of nine, Maria Celina and her struggle as a catechist, Irma and her fights for indigenous woman, the teacher Ophelia who turned her classroom in a place for insight on the need to understand-remember and uphold history; Sandra and migration to the US, an ironic escape from the current problems of gang violence in El Salvador.

The children’s naïve eyes about their recent history and the need for peace in the world.


After many years as a photographer I decided make a small test by lending my camera “for a short moment” to children in the communities where I photographed. I was surprised at the skill and interest it caused, so I decided to shape the idea by creating a photo traveler workshop for kids to "play and have fun" while they learned. The experience began in 2005 as a television program – a 24-minute documentary series - titled “Venezuela seen by its children”. Approximately 12 children –girls and boys – ages 9 to 14, took part in a digital photography workshop that addressed the daily life of a specific location. The photographs taken by the participants, varied in their topics: a family portrait, historical characters, traditions, landscapes, architecture and customs. The geographical space and human relations of different regions of Venezuela, are shown in a playful manner. From the initial step of learning the use of the camera, the choice of the topic, the photographic shooting and the final exhibition with the community, this series offers a discovery path of the country, joining a group of children who tell us visually and vocally the way that they perceive their world.

After more than 24 national workshops, the experience moved beyond our borders in Argentina, Ecuador and El Salvador.



Argentina. 2010

In 2010 I had the opportunity to carry out a workshop during the 4th Argentine Biennial of Documentary Photography at the Centro de Trabajo Popular Mate Cocido, in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán. We began the photography workshop in the ATE neighborhood, benefiting from the children's experience in performing arts and music, we turned a horse cart – which usually carried garbage - into a photo carriage. The photos were assembled in clothes, we then dressed-up and we went out on stilts and Murga celebration to distribute a small Newspaper we had printed in the workshop. The possibility of collaborating with the extraordinary work of Mate Cocido in its goal to create different spaces for boys and girls from vulnerable areas; to show these achievements before the astonished eyes of the participants of the Biennial, was an unforgettable experience.

Production: Julio Pantoja/4th Argentine Biennial of Documentary Photography/Sergio Osorio/Centro Mate Cocido. Director: Rafael Lacau. Photography: José Manuel Romero. Editor: Dayana Gauthier. Sound: Lino Ocando. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografia.

Production: Gato Villegas/Fotodocumental Quito. Director: Rafael Lacau. Photography: Children taking part in the workshop/Rafael Lacau. Edition: Rafael Lacau. Music: Jorge Reyes/Alejandro Betancourt.


Cotopaxi, Ecuador. 2009

In the community of Carrillos, in the Valley of Cotopaxi, a group of children from different schools in the area gathered together with their teachers to attend a photography workshop. We decided to write letters to relatives who, had had to migrate in and out of Ecuador because of economic difficulties. They wrote the letters with their teachers, read them and photographed them to show their spaces, their loved ones. Wasipunku, Huasipungo... that portion of meagre land that the landowner gave to his day laborers, a symbol of exploitation and feudal misery.

And so, piece by piece they have once again become the owners of their place of origin.



State of Mérida, Venezuela. 2010

Rosandy Contreras is a 13-year-old girl born blind. She attends a regular school, while receiving support from other teachers to help her integration, learn Braille and personal growth. Marina and Juan Carlos - teacher and pupil both born blind - visit Rosandy in her village in the mountains, with the idea of sharing the experience of taking photographs using a flashlight as a source of light. The girl photographs her family, her sister and her music teacher. We suddenly see hands that feel in the dark, an image that is printed in Braille. Like her, other children and blind adults lived the experience of taking photographs. These images are in the final exhibition, a space of possible worlds, strength and communication.

Director: Rafael Lacau. Photography: José Manuel. Editor: Henry Ramírez. Assistant: Freddy Matos. Field Recording: Radharani Gómez. Mixer: Lino Ocando. Music: Nascuy Linares. Animation: Víctor Da Silva. Dramaturgy Advisor: Andrés Agustí. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografía.

Director: Rafael Lacau. Photography: José Manuel/Rafael Lacau. Editor: Betsi Battig. Assistant: Freddy Matos. Field Recording: Roberto Rojas. Mixer: María Ríos. Animation: Víctor Da Silva, Alexandra Bass, César Briceño. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografía.


Mayerlyn Quintero is an11-year old born blind. Motivated by her teacher and guide Marina Mota who is also blind, fights with determination to move forward. Marina has a bachelor's degree in education, she has two daughters, a family, she is a role-model. Mayerlin studies music, attends school on a regular basis and courses in Braille. Together they undertake a photographic experience: to capture their inner worlds, images from their minds in photographs.

Is it possible to physically build the visions of the blind?


Delta del Orinoco, Venezuela. 2011

Since the time of the Conquest and the desire to find El Dorado, the great Orinoco River has been a source of greed and destruction. The Waraos live there, near its Delta. A peaceful people that established their life on the waters of this river. Modernism continued its destruction. After the closure of Caño Mánamo to increase water levels in the Orinoco River and make it navigable throughout the year, the indigenous population was negatively affected. They were forced to move to the city in search of better life opportunities, a situation that has mostly overflowed in misery in urban peripheries all over Venezuela. Dayris lives with her grandmother as many girls do. Her mother left to go to the city years ago. Together with many children in the community she takes part in a photography workshop. The main topics of her photographs are family, school, fishing, landscapes, but especially her grandmother. She makes the 6-hour boat journey from San Francisco de Guayo to reach the tin houses where her mother lives, taking with her the photos, tokens of the family album.

Director: Rafael Lacau. Assistant Director: Dayana Gauthier. Photography: Alejandra Fonseca. Underwater camera: Rafael Lacau. Editor: Dayana Gauthier. Field Recording: Miguel Pasccuci. Mixer: Lino Ocando. Animation. Víctor Da Silva. Field Production and Translation: Yordana Medrano. Dramaturgy Advisor: Andrés Agustí. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografía.

Directors: Rafael Lacau, Álvaro Hernández, Gerard Uzcátegui. Photography: Gerard Uzcátegui/Jhon Márquez. Editor: Gerard Uzcátegui. Sound: Lino Ocando. Animation: Víctor Da Silva, Alexandra Bass, César Briceño. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografía.


State of Mérida, Venezuela. 2010

The experience of photography workshops for children began here, in this rural Andean area. A group of children, the unexpected visitors with cameras for them to play and photograph. As they were always photographed by tourist visitors, now they were undoubtedly the main characters. It was wonderful! A year later we returned and with the knowledge acquired from the use of the camera, we went down to a nearby village. There, waiting for us, there was a group of children and adults, even 80- year olds. The kids from Gavidia were now the teachers. To teach and play, to acknowledge and enjoy will always be the goal of our job.


State of Bolívar, Venezuela. 2010

Beginning with the preparation of the Carnival festivities in the town of El Callao, State of Bolivar, a group of girls and boys that belong to a ‘cumparsita’ take part in a photography workshop to make known their traditions, and countless costumes - Madama, Negro Pinto, the Devils. Eleven-year old Santico talks about his grandmother “mamita”, who is cultural heritage of the region. While he photographs her, he also speaks of his love for her and tells of his interest in the disguise of the Red Devil. Jesus Torrellas talks about his beginnings in the tradition of the White Devils. He puts on a huge mask he has made to show during the Carnival parades. The colorful carnival takes place and at the end the children – a total of 12 - exhibit their photographs in the Plaza Bolivar of the town. In the evening the children are seen playing and singing Calypso. They are the awakening seed of this beautiful tradition.

Director: Rafael Lacau. Photography: José Manuel Romero/Freddy Matos. Editor: Dayana Gauthier. Sound: Lino Ocando. Animation. Víctor Da Silva. Dramaturgy Advisor: Andrés Agustí. General Production: Cooperativa Ancla2 de Fotografía.

Director: Rafael Lacau. Assistant Director: José Manuel Romero. Photography: José Manuel Romero/Gerard Uzcátegui/Freddy Matos. Editor: Dayana Gauthier. Sound: Radharani Gómez. Animation. Víctor Da Silva. Field Recording: Susana Arwas/Edgar Moreno.


The traditional Festival of “The Dancing Devils of Chuao” takes place by the shores of the State of Aragua during Corpus Christi. A group of girls and boys taking part in the photography workshop record their festivities through the masks, costumes, families and landscapes of their village. Jesús, one of the children, belongs to the Brotherhood (cofradía), he dresses-up in a traditional costume of the Festival, a symbol that the tradition continues with the children. At the end the children have a great exhibition near the site of “sancocho* of the devils” that shake their bells, maracas and drums as an homage to the work accomplished by the children.