Color Me Night at Casa das Artes
Color Me Night at Casa das Artes
This exhibition proposes a particular approach to landscape photography. Without attempting a clear definition of the concept of landscape it may be sufficient to remember, for example, that in the portuguese case the definition is clearly tied to the construction of an image of a country, an idea widely explored since the 1930s by the Salazar regime, especially through the medium of photography.
It proposes a vision of landscape as a staged scene, more or less directed, and registered by photography. This small gesture of the photographic device establishes a register in time (more precisely, in an infinite fraction of time) of a particular scene direction that can come from the photographer or from those that have altered the landscape.
And at this point the idea of making strange (“[E]strange”) comes in, where scenes that we may take for granted as familiar cease to be so. This transformation of the familiar into the strange has various routes and their identification can give us an orientation towards accessing additional meanings of the works presented.
This orientation is given through diverse ways, from the absence of the camera, to the presence of a sensor that widens the visible spectrum available to the device, by initially declaring an apparently traditional approach (or not) to landscape, by the presence of non-places and the effects these have on their surroundings, by the presentation of bodies or volumes rendered strange by the point of vision and/or frame, or even by the most everyday factor present in our lives, that re-minds us, when least expected, the extraordinary side of our existence, chance.
If chance leads us to re-member, at the same time it urges us towards the search of plausible terms of reference. In other words, the landscape made strange by the photographic device in its re-presentation is a possibility for a renewed and deepened perception, the possibility of considering diverse terms of reference.
The diversity of approaches and landscapes presented here do not refer to the construction of any country in particular, they do refer to the possibility of creating many worlds, the possibility of the existence of diverse coordinate systems, that can be interior(ized) towards a widened critical sense, of the landscape that surrounds us and, necessarily, and ultimately, of the photographic device itself
Color Me Night is a book project born of roughly four years of travel across four continents. From North America to Europe to Asia and Africa, my journey took me from a sedentary lifestyle, working as a studio artist in Chicago, to a peripatetic one as a photojournalist covering conflicts and social upheaval in such places as Afghanistan, Southern Turkey, Kenya, Thailand or the border between Chad and Sudan. In my work I encountered a great deal of death, destruction, destitution and oppression – in short, the darkest aspects of humanity. This prompted big questions about our nature as human beings and about my own motivation to bear witness to the suffering of others. I suppose you could say it took me to a very dark place, and it is only fitting that all the photographs were made after the sun had set. And yet these are a celebration of life, of decadence, freedom, and love, things one often feels intensely when confronted with their counterparts.
A certain kind of magic happens when the sun goes down. Shadows play tricks on the imagination. Colours take on a new richness and depth. Forms become blurred, abstract, more painterly and mysterious. People simmer down and reveal themselves, angels becoming demons and demons becoming angels. Mythic creatures appear, and the line between what is safe and what you want, between madness and inspiration, becomes as nebulous as some of the resulting images. Obscurity lends itself to a kind of reverie. A threshold presents itself, daring you to cross it, to dream and to live as in a dream. This journal by night is an expression of that space where the infinite and the finite seem to mingle with ease – a space I often find myself in, plotting my own destiny.
You can view the multimedia piece here.
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© Anne Holmes 2016. All Rights Reserved
© Anne Holmes All Rights Reserved