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An Interview with Alberto Rabelo


Just 17 years old, Dallas-based photographer Alberto Rabelo is already shooting for Nike Football. Thumbing through his work, his early success makes sense. Rabelo (@alrlo, if you’re on the ‘gram) has a way of capturing the energy of life and, in particular, the energy of the game. His shots of football players on the field are sturdy and cinematic, drenched in the reverence for the sport his home state is known for. Not limited to just one subject, Rabelo’s barren landscapes--empty buildings sprayed with paint--are also of note, as are his portraits of Texas locals. We talk to the young photographer about the thrill of the game, Texas misconceptions, and fried Oreos. It might be milk and cookies time for this kid now, but keep your eyes out for this one in the next few years.

Favorite things to shoot:

Cities, teams, friends, etc. I love action--anything that has movement in it. Not only is it exciting to be in situations where there's a lot of things going on, but knowing that I can capture images that can't be replicated is pretty satisfying.

Best part about your neighborhood:

There's always something going on in the area. The streets seem to be alive.    

The worst:

Everything is spread out.

Favorite local building with graffiti:

There's an abandoned meat packing plant in the neighboring city of Fort Worth that comes to mind. Not only is it the first abandoned building I ever photographed, it also has crazy graffiti everywhere. Over the course of the years, the abandonment of the building has invited artists to go in and paint its walls. Every single inch of it is covered in some sort of street art.

You have $15 to spend in your local bodega/corner store. What do you buy?

I would buy a water bottle and a pack of Jolly Ranchers.

Biggest stereotype about your city that’s not true:

We're not all cowboys.

Biggest stereotype about your city that is true:

Everything IS bigger in Texas.

Your city in three words:

The Southern Queen

Best place to shoot in your city:

Shooting in Deep Ellum is always exciting. Concerts always bring interesting subjects to the area, which make for good portraits.

Place you went to this year that impressed you the most:

I recently got the opportunity to explore the northern part of New Mexico for a couple of days. I've never been to an area with a substantial amount of snow, so this was a crazy new experience to me. What impressed me the most about New Mexico is the sky at night. When the weather permits, a colorful band of stars can be observed streaking across the sky. Being able to see so many stars at once was definitely unforgettable, and something that can't be fully appreciated within the boundaries of well-lit cities.

Dish you can only get in Dallas:

During the month of October, the State Fair of Texas blesses us with a variety of fried foods. You can find anything from fried butter to fried ice cream there--however, my personal favorite are the fried Oreos.

Photos courtesy of Alberto Rabelo via Tumblr.