Thanos Savvidis, Corneliu Sarion, Zisis Kardianos, Paul Raymond
All is light … and light is all.
That's why in times of darkness and obscurity we look for the moment that will make the difference.
What if we can find the vision and the salvation in others' work and talent? Or should I say obsession? This is the case here, today by presenting you the 4 following images.
What is behind any photograph besides the photographer?
What makes her/him capture a moment instead of living it? And let's be frank here: we all know that photographing means already a partial missing of the reality itself. Would things be as Calvino states? That "photography has a meaning only if it exhausts all possible images"?
Or is it that the photographer is easily adopting an eccentricity of manner and an irregularity of life just to find refuge into the illusion that every one except oneself is bourgeois?
And is the time spent between shots, nothing but a conscious choice of ignoring it?
Burning reds, deep blues, dreamy turquoises are they more powerful than the narrative B&W?
In the present time we have two major obstacles to beat.
We cannot copy or emulate previous work of past masters because we just give birth again to a child that has already been born and lived,
Artists are the spiritual teachers of the world, and for their teaching to have weight, it must be comprehensible and not eluded in a narcissistic "art for the art's sake".
The authors of these images go beyond these obstacles. Would you too?
It happens to all of us ... the autofocus landing on the wall and our off-center subject in its precious gesture having to "suffer" from blurriness.
This is one of the moments we realize how much precious was Leica's manual focus / zone focus.
Having said that, Stela's decision to take the shot without losing a single second for adjustments was wise. We can always use the argument that sharpness is a bourgeois concept.
Reading the present picture, after having been hypnotised by the omnipresent mustard tone, we stop at the geometrical shapes elegantly located around and along the leading lines. Traffic signs, sewage manholes, aeration grids, poles ... are elevated to meaningful objects.
That's why I call street photography: "the sublimation of the futile".
Last but in no way least, we stay and spend time with the mid-aged lady. The fist constricted ... as is her gaze. "Too old to rock'n'roll too young to die". Phantom of a teenager self, the out-of-focus (out of seduction) mishap, in fact adds to the decoding of the image. Black dressed against a colourful present, time-marked against an inflationary youth, she knows that around the corner (we know that beyond the 4 angles of the frame) she won't be alone anymore but she will continue to be lonely.
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Every time I look at an old photograph two great philosophers and writers come to my mind. Barthes and Calvino talking about the madness of photography.
I quote them here:
1. "The noeme of Photography is simple, banal; no depth: "that has been." I know our critics: What! a whole book (even a short one) to discover something I know at first glance? Yes, but such evidence can be a sibling of madness. The Photograph is an extended, loaded evidence-as if it caricatured not the figure of what it represents (quite the converse) but its very existence. The image, says phenomenology, is an object-as-nothing. Now, in the Photograph, what I posit is not only the absence of the object; it is also, by one and the same movement, on equal terms, the fact that this object has indeed existed and that it has been there where I see it. Here is where the madness is, for until this day no representation could assure me of the past of a thing except by intermediaries; but with the Photograph, my certainty is immediate: no one in the world can undeceive me. The Photograph then becomes a bizarre medium, a new form of hallucination: false on the level of perception, true on the level of time: a temporal hallucination, so to speak, a modest, shared hallucination (on the one hand "it is not there," on the other "but it has indeed been") : a mad image, chafed by reality." Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
2. "For the person who wants to capture everything that passes before his eyes’, Antonino would explain, even if nobody was listening to him any more, ‘the only coherent way to act is to snap at least one picture a minute, from the instant he opens his eyes in the morning to when he goes to sleep. This is the only way that the rolls of exposed film will represent a faithful diary of our days, with nothing left out. If I were to start taking pictures, I’d see this thing through, even if it meant losing my mind. But the rest of you still insist on making a choice. What sort of choice? A choice in the idyllic sense, apologetic, consolatory, at peace with nature, the fatherland, the family. Your choice isn’t only photographic; it is a choice of life, which leads you to exclude dramatic conflicts, the knots of contradiction, the great tensions of will, passion, aversion. So you think you are saving yourselves from madness, but you are falling into mediocrity, into hebetude". Italo Calvino, The Adventures of a Photographer
Why the above? First of all because two non-photographers get the essence of photography only through an intellectual exercise. Simply because, photography IS an intellectual exercise.
A temporal paradox and a choice of life (an escape from madness).
Ioannis' picture is representing the confession moment: when we decide to go back to those instant snaps made tens of years ago only to let the temporal hallucination to save us from mediocrity and apathy.
On the photographic quality of the picture I only have to pay my tribute to the majestic timing and the geniality of preferring the immortalisation over the individualist living of the moment.
Did the author know that this decision of his would "touch him like the delayed rays of a star"? Most probably yes and that's what we call the touch of a genious.
On the technical quality of the picture: "You are now warned, stop thinking about anything technical".
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Disappointed that no one is giving a couple of reasons for their selection. Of course it is personal, subjective … etc … but please try harder. Or don't try at all.
We are flooded by "Picture of the day/month/year" … worldwide contests "Best portrait/landscape/action" … but no one is daring to give their justification for the selection.
No time? Then stop doing this. No reasons? Then keep your silence.
CURATING IS NOT AN ADOLESCENT COLLECTION OF FAVOURITES!
Having said that, here is an image that the author labels it "the Selfie". I do not know Nicola or his work, I have just sent out a friendship request.
I am repeating myself by saying that a powerful image is presenting its impact at thumbnail (contact-sheet) level. It is already transmiting its architecture and its mojo even if it is blurred or small.
Most of the times, when we open up (print) large a great picture, it does not give us any more answers. Can be sharper, have some recognisible tiny objects, but (here for example), the huge abstract face created by the elements would not be clearer or less mysterious in large.
Against any compositional rule or aesthetics, this image is playing with our certainties. And it makes them doubt in a subtle way.
"This is symmetric". No, it is not, the shadows are asymmetric.
"This is a Fellinian background". No, it is not. It is a town.
"This is too noisy". No, it is not. It could not be otherwise.
"This is a photograph." No, it is not. It is the photographer's dream put in an image. And we all know how difficult is it to grasp and share a dream.
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What is an icon? If it is "a representation that depicts a religious image that outlasts both the subject and the author" then VSLO's picture (author Dragos Funariu) is an icon and VSLO is a religion, a worship.
Welcome to "VSLO for life" #VSLO2016
VSLO the Woodstock of photography is open to host your dreams.