Kike Calvo Fotografía

domingo, 11 de noviembre de 2012

Photography is as the eye on the Buddha's palm


 A silver-surfaced copper sheet prior to exposure in Photograph results in the formation of a layer of photo-sensitive silver halide, and exposure to a scene or image through a lens formed a latent image. The latent image was made visible, or "developed", by subjecting the exposed plate to the fumes rising from a quantity of heated mercury.



I met Indrani Krishnan-Lukomski at my recent Master´s Tea at Yale. I was delighted with her curiosity and interest in anthropology. She grew up in Singapore, and witnessed the south-east Asian culture in a city-state where 76% of the population is of Chinese descent. 

Her interest in anthropology is a result of experiencing Singapore's difficult cultural transition into globalization. Thanks to the Yale's Richard U.Light Fellowship, she participated in the Duke Study in China session with Beijing's University of International Business and Economics.

 I will  to share with you some of her photographic adventures in China. But before, for those interested in the East, take a minute to explore the blog of Spanish photographer Nano Calvo and his recent photographic expedition to Japan.  And yes, you guessed right. We are related. I do know him since he was very young, since I was very young. As young as I my memory can remember. 


By Indrani Krishnan-Lukomski 


The South Korean photographer Atta Kim compared this process to Heidegger's Geworfenheit, Throwness.   The metaphor between Geworfenheit and Photography introduces the latter as a fifth sense, the conscious eye. 

The term plays with the concepts of Being and Time and works around the interactions of the subject with its surroundings (instinctual reactions and interpretations). Heidegger's monistic view of the world introduces everything as in existence, only unnoticed.This touches photography in its power to reveal the unremarked.


I chose photography to embrace my project because I profoundly see in it a gateway to Existential realisation.  I spent my last weekend pouring over the photographic archives of Beijing's 798 Art District and was inspired by the words of many artists whose process resonated with that of which I am in search.

Photography became for me a straightforward path to social awareness. In our modernised, urbanised, globalised and always moving never stopping world, human relationships can be pushed to an insignificant portion of our lives, leading us to an individualistic understanding of existence. 

I believe the issue at stake resides in this "always moving never stopping" that defines contemporary societies. Taking a walk around Singapore's National History Museum, there it has quite a relevant Movie introducing the capital as a 24/7 human industry.  



In such circumstances it is hard to take a step back, it is hard to detach ourselves from our actions and take a moment to understand the stands we unconsciously take.  Perspective is what we often miss, and in every sense of the term, perspective is what I found through my camera. 

Photography, existential questioning, social awareness, and perspective... a base ground study for anthropology.

Many of the photographers I discovered in Beijing’s Art District compared their camera to a supplementary sense. Art is this field of uncertainty and subjectivity.  I believe every Art has a purpose, underlying or straight in your face.  Rimbaud’s Letter to Paul Demeny, know as “The Visionary,” and very inspiring in this way since he talks of art as an eye-opening guide: “We owe a duty to Society, you belong to the teaching profession. I say that one must be a seer. So the poet is truly the thief of fire.”

Photography, when life such as a treadmill flies beneath you, or over you, is that stop in time like a deep in-breath. Photography is Pascal's eternal present, where the past and future resound in an immortalised present. I wondered, on a racing passenger bike as Ping Yao, Da Tong's street scenes blew past me what photography exactly meant to me, as a traveller. And it all came down to remembering time and capturing, grasping the power of a second. You travel and discover every second something completely new, unforseen. Travelling is the constand reminder that we are only travelling through. It is intruding another's life for some time and understanding with in the back of your mind the reality of the ticket that sooner or later will bring you back "home."

That day as I thought we passed a small winding street lined with grey bricks with a child kneeled at its center playing with the earth. The moment was gone before I knew it but somehow I had had the time to take a snapshot. To live eternally in every second of your life, to live in every street you pass. It could just well be. For what if I stopped here and rested a while? But we are always running. Somehow through every snapshot that milisecond is turned to gold, not frozen in time but endless in time, enabling you to persist in that memory, without living in the past but rather in an unlimited present, and to explore in depth every fold of it. 



In the last paragraphs I speak of memory and our predilection to forgetfulness. The reason why photography has become so important in my personal process and in my interaction with the world would because of how unbearable this truth seems to me. When evey moment every instance of your spinning life is full of meaning and weight, as it creates the thread of your history and thus as your experiences create you, it seems unbearable to forget what makes you who you are. Very edgy and wordy explanantion, but we'll pass my poor writing. 

I was walking in some Hutongs and conversing with one of the inhabitatns when he asked me to take a photograph of his street. My camera is digital, very useful to connect with people, so I showed him the snapshot of his home. It was very moving to see the happiness looking at that picture gave him and to see the true gratefulness in his eyes as he thanked me. He even went into his room to take out a pet turtle and asked me to go on taking pictures of the two of them. This man never asked me to send him the photos, it was never his intention to ask for them, even after proposing. But I think I understood that little mattered apart the happy reminder that somewhere in the world there was that memory, his reality immortalized. With Hutongs being destroyed by the day in Beijing, people's homes for generations being pulled apart there was that hope that the little Hutong south west of the Imperial City, where he lived with his turtle would remain in some memory, in some other dimension. Maybe it is just me, but anyways that's the interpretation I chose and its precious signification has stuck with me. 

I would strongly encourage you to check out Feng Jian Guo's work, concentrated on the destruction of Hutongs, giving a voice to what is disappearing. 




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