Exposed: “It reminds me of something…”
Painting and photography. How can they come together?
Influence, merely coincidence or pure imagery?
I dived into it… and I’m sharing my experiment and my 32 visual ‘evidences’
My imagery always strikes me: walking on the streets, contemplating landscape, when time stops and it feels like déjà vu, even in my writing sometimes I’ve been pushed to some unexpected theme, when just feels familiar. Who gives a step ahead and convinces me that there’s an explanation for this activation of data, visuals, sounds , that little details conducting imagination, something to identify with or to reintroduce some style, who comes into this path and delivers an answer, that’s someone I certainly owe some gratitude for proving superior intellectual capacity over everything I can compare getting in the end of this enigma. But inner inside deeply, I pray I will never cross her/his path, because I don’t want peace of mind, either all the answers to the odd mysteries of the universe. I hang up on the intriguing as long as it sustains part of what I imply as creativity, association, interpretation.
I like to play as much as I like the game.
I’m privileged because I had something close of a photographic memory. In my case it doesn’t happen as a magic trick : the image remains forever and in 1 sec I’m instantly taken to it ”oh…I remember this, or I know that” It doesn’t work that way. It comes more as some association’s easiness , the feelings, the sounds , the forms, and that mysterious part I mentioned before, where I’m easily connecting dots and understanding the code.
I’m not Freud or Doctor House to lead this discursion, but I feel the images are there somehow stored in somewhere. The experiences, the influences got all mixed waiting and suddenly there’s a trigger and they’re back colliding, calling attention and even if that doesn’t come clear, it leaves a sensation. The ‘sensorial’ wins: ‘ I saw that before’
All of these made me think how this same process could interfere in the imagery of one photographer, cause images are basically “the whole deal”, big part of their lives, experiences, journeys, faces, places and if you go deep and add all the outsiders: colors, flashes, tastes, shapes you put in the equation, and in case you also adventurously add literature as nurturing inspiration , relying on that as guidance into the unknown…That’s it! The mix of all of that , that’s certainly a rich pompous imagery database. But now I require your attention cause what had me wondering lately it’s another art that walks so close to the photography… the sister, the soulmate, and that got me obsessed on a investigative standpoint : ‘Painting…Let’s bring it up’. The truth is: not only David Alan Harvey who I had the chance to listen the advice more than once, but also another respected photographers joing the choir pointing in this same direction : the famous painters. So, I’m been wandering around the big masters from both arts in a attempt to fulfill this experience by myself , specially when you aren’t a photographer it’s even a harder mash up.
My goal was to stimulate my imagery to interpret and to intercept some possible associations …going over lighting, composition , shades, exposure, softness, the knowledge on what makes visuals more attractive.
The method I‘ve chose was simple, raw and completely honest. Saving one night and a long overnight (bye bye friday Lapa night) creating an archive with paintings of my ten favorite names among the most prestigious painters who ever lived. As I already knew most of their arts as single images, that made a little bit easier. Next step was to look them at once as a contact sheet, and right after popping up hundreds of paintings images at the screen , strafing my brain with one image fading into another, selecting and pinning down. Following day the same process with photos of ten of my favorite renown photographers. And then…vóila! At this level, I could see some of the photos and to relate immediately to a painting in a very instinctive way.. not imposed , not trying hard to do it, not directly influenced by styles, not a loyal similarity , but a small link that could ring the bell: the eyes, the body language, the lighting, a common feature, an intention, the mood, glimpses of some style, something to serve as a bridge to some feeling like “Oh…It reminds me of something”. The final step and I confess that this one required more time (it means another sleep deprived night): pairing the painting and photograph side by side and to illustrate my conclusion with those 32 matches I’m introducing here in the slideshow I prepared bellow.
My conclusion: Imagery doesn’t have to do with obvious or immediate, has to do with the nature of sensorial experiences luggage that will be there in stand by. And the lines chosen for expression, that’s refined , gentle subtle approach details, influences and an unique way that leads everyone to see , to interpret, to store it . Those were results of my experiment and I wonder how actually those photographers correspond to that: influence, merely coincidence or pure imagery? But like I wrote in the beginning that’s the kind of enigma I hope can retain its mystery for a little bit longer