I met Kike Arnaiz last year in Barcelona, we had a photo shoot together, and we did a video interview for the Westend61 blog. Kike is a very talented Spanish photographer who decided to travel the World making a living as a nomad stock photographer.

Kike is very popular on Instagram where he usually shares very fashionable images of beautiful models. In fact, Kike worked as a fashion photographer in New York City before moving back to Europe and starting a career as a stock photographer.
One of his recent projects is the story of a group of friends traveling across Lapland heading towards North Cape. I’ve found his images very authentic, and I’ve fallen in love with them. You can feel that the group had real fun and it seems they lived an incredible adventure.

Giorgio: Hi Kike, would you please tell us what the story behind this road trip is?

Kike: Sure! It was in January when I saw an Instagram Story saying: “Who wants to join on a Lapland trip this summer?” I didn’t even think about it and asked to join. There was this group of five people looking for a sixth one. By then I only knew Rubén with whom I made a couple of trips already, to Denmark and Iceland. But I didn’t know the others. It could have been chaos, traveling with a big group of unknown people.

They spent the whole year organizing the trip and meeting each other, but since I live on the road and not in Madrid like them, I didn’t meet these people until we saw each other at the airport. But it couldn’t have been better, the trip was a super experience, and we became close friends. Two weeks of sharing everything: incredible moments, landscapes and adventures. We camped all around Finland, Sweden, and Norway, making a fire under the northern sky and going to saunas after swimming in cold lakes. Those kinds of experiences make people connect. We shared our feelings, fears and we cried and laughed a lot together.  We even got a tattoo to remember this experience. Crazy!

Giorgio: It seems that most of the images are not staged, right?

Kike: That’s something I’m always looking for in my photography. That’s why sometimes my images are not so commercial, or I don’t have many different concepts for a photo shoot. I let the shooting flow, and try to capture whatever happens.

On this trip, it worked well, because we did a lot of different things. We didn’t need to stage anything, we just had to live the moment and sometimes capture it. It was not planned as a stock photography trip, I just asked the guys if they wouldn’t mind signing the model release for stock, and they were okay with it. Maybe it wouldn’t have been the same if we would have posted, or created fake moments. We’re not models, so all emotions in the photos are real.

On the other hand – a negative thing of not preparing this trip for stock – There was a lot of logos and trademarks to retouch after the trip.

Giorgio: You also created a short video. Would you share it with us?

Kike: I have a Youtube channel where I post video blogs about my trips and photography. In the beginning, this video was supposed to be one of these vlogs where I show the places, talk about the adventure, etc. But in this case, I tried to experiment with something new as I saw Natalia, one of the girls on the trip, writing a lot during the van trips. I asked her if she could write something for the video and she did, so here you can hear her telling what the trip was like for us (in Spanish, but it has English subtitles)!

Giorgio: I have followed your trip on Instagram, and I realized you were traveling with a bunch of talented photographers. After talking with you, Westend61 decided to offer a contract to some of them. One of the best pictures we have received so far is a portrait of you, taken by Rubén. Where were you guys and why were you standing on a roof without wearing a t-shirt?

Kike: In the northern hemisphere there aren’t many hours of the night in the summer, so we decided to see every sunrise and sunset. We went to sleep after the sunrise every day, around 3 or 4 am. This picture shows me after seeing one of these magical dawns on the roof of a fisherman’s house. I had no t-shirt because I was in my pajamas. I was so tired I couldn’t even feel the cold. And my beard keeps me warm 😉

Giorgio: What’s your next destination?

Kike: Tomorrow I’ll take a plane to Lithuania, and I will spend the month in the Baltic countries. Afterwards, I’m heading to the USA. If any Westend61 photographer is willing to join for a US trip, I’ll be free from the middle of October 🙂

Giorgio: Kike, thank you very much for sharing this story! We look forward to seeing more of your rocking images!

Kike: My pleasure Giorgio, thanks a lot for having me and for sharing the adventure we had!

If you want to see more of Kike’s trip just browse through the image selection in our webshop.