Currently showing posts tagged mystery

  • Belle Epoque Series: Beauty and Mystery

    Belle Epoque is the name of an ongoing Art Nouveau photo series I started in 2015.

    This project has brought me so far to photograph houses, apartments and even museums in Paris (France), in Cartagena and Murcia (Spain) and La Habana (Cuba).

    When I started with the series, it was not really clear to me how I would express the emotions I feel about The Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau in pictures. The more I got access to places, the more I realised I was actually attracted to the details.

    Being in these buildings was like going back in time.

    “The premises of Art Nouveau, also considered as a new form of romanticism, were the search of beauty and of a certain spirituality. (…) Art Nouveau poets and painters evoked remote worlds, fairytales, velvety sceneries where everything happens in a musical atmosphere and where nature is immersed in mystery. Art Nouveau is the territory of the line, the curve and the straight line. A calligraphic sense inherited from Japonism that shrouds with lines, pieces of furniture and buildings” (1)

    And this is exactly what I was looking for when taking a closer look at the intricate designs of staircases, doors, windows, etc. I was trying to recreate beauty and mystery, and to reach a certain abstraction of the curves and lines.

    In Cuba, I had the opportunity to stay in a colonial house built in 1895 by a Spaniard who migrated to La Habana.  And in Paris, I was given access to photograph the Art Nouveau museum of designer Pierre Cardin, which is open to the public in Rue Royale, and housed in Maxim’s building. 

    The pictures of the series is now on sale at my Etsy shop Images with a story. They are available in open and limited editions.


    (1) Extract from the book “Cartagena 1874-1936 (Transformación urbana y arquitectura)” by F. Javier Pérez Rojas . 1986

  • The dreamy world of Paolo Roversi

    The dreamy world of Paolo Roversi

    When I look at Paolo Roversi’s pictures, I am instantly dragged into his universe. I feel overcome with emotion.  My breath speeds up. All my senses are on alert. Something is going on. The mystery that exudes from his pictures literally catches all my attention.

    Paolo Roversi says,

    “Photography goes beyond reality and illusion. It brushes another life, another dimension, revealing not only what exists but also what does not exist.”

    Indeed. This is the magic of it. Silence is paramount to reach those parallel worlds when I shoot. In such state of mind, I leave this world. I am elsewhere. I hear the barely audible. I smell how my characters feel. I spot even the tiniest details in the dark. I move around this ethereal environment, set the light, and when I recognise my world, I capture it.

    “Light is not a matter of reason… but of feeling. (…) Each picture is an encounter, an intimate and mutual confession.”

    My personal life blends unconsciously to the story I am writing with images. My heart beats at the tip of my finger when I press the button. All my energy focuses on the caption of this fainted world. My feelings guide me throughout the journey.

    Pictures, as well as scents, leave indelible stories in our memories, ephemeral moments but everlasting memories.

    For me, the most fascinating aspect is what they evoke when we see or smell them, even years later. If a picture is worth more than a thousand words, then what about a fragrance?

    In the next post I will write about fragrances. Seventeen years working in this sector, yes... a lot! ;)

    I will comment on the many similarities between photography and perfumery. Stay tuned!

    Quotes: Studio, Paolo Roversi, Steidl, 2009
    Pictures from left to right: Giorgio Armani Campaign, 1998 . Vogue Italia fashion editorial, 2003 . Vogue Italia fashion editorial, 2013

  • Mystery. My watchword

    If I had to choose a single word to define the work I do it would be Mystery. Every element present in the picture serves to tell a mysterious story. Not a frightening mystery but a lovely, harmonious one which is just waiting to be revealed. As an artist, my aim is to encourage the spectator to dream of the stories which I transmit as this will mean that he or she has discovered how to pierce through the hidden world  captured in my photos.

    I am always on the lookout for models who act out and express their feelings, so adding more to my story than just their beauty. The subjects of my photography take part in an exchange of emotions just as if they were on the stage; elegant, strong intelligent women who are at one and the same time charismatic and feminine as they pose for my camera. My photos reflect my own personal vision of woman: a stylish, elegant heroine who attracts and fascinates.

    I like to define myself as a portrait photographer, as my shots aim to create and capture an intimate view of their subjects. My work does not merely take place in another time, but it invites the viewer into the beyond by means of the nostalgia with which it is imbued. In my photos I try so hard to reflect a  personal ideal which defies the meaningless speed with which our times rush by and which  turns the words “here and now” into a mere jumble of syllables as soon as they are spoken. I present my subjects within  a space-time framework in an undetermined past outside the prosaic world of today, transmitting a feeling of unreality which invites the viewer to dream and plunge inside the story itself.

    But the characters do not only step onto the stage, but are enfolded in an atmosphere which takes on vital importance and is the vehicle by means of which the story is told. I manipulate light concentrating its intensity on the subjects of the picture, a dramatic resource which pays hommage to Rembrandt, one of my favourite painters whose use of shade I admire, and which he uses to draw one’s attention to a particular area of the image. However I do not only use light to reveal but also to conceal. The photographer Diane Arbus explained that there is “a real physical presence of darkness”, so that the viewer uses the imagination to penetrate beyond what the image itself actually shows.

    In short, any form of artistic expression contains intentionality, an aspiration which directly influences the viewer. For me, photography is the art of the imagination par excellence because while it does not  depend upon movement or sound it fulfils its purpose of telling a story and transmitting deep emotions. I hope that the mystery which I construct and present will cause the viewer to be attracted to the story and to reflect upon it.

    Characters have a story. Listen.

  • Silence to reach my world

    Not long ago in another post I was mulling over the element of mystery which pervades the whole of my work and inspires me, making me able to imbue my shots with a special sort of feeling and to use them to tell stories.

    However, to ensnare that element of mystery I need complete silence. Photography is an art, and as an artist I have created my very own creative ritual. It is vital for me to work in a calm setting where I can rise up above earthly things and capture that magic “spark” which sets my creativity on fire. Other artists, such as Francis Bacon, have mentioned the role which silence plays in their creative process. As a painter he claimed that

    “Silence is the restfulness which nourishes wisdom.”

    This silence, especially when it is within me, leads me to express through my photography the mystery I mentioned. But as silence does not only depend on myself, when I am on a photography shoot I like to be surrounded by a team of tactful people who add just that little extra dose of serenity. Each one plays his or her part to perfection, but the main character of each project reigns supreme. When I take a picture, the sound the camera makes is the only thing which is to be heard at the heart of all that silence. Meanwhile, my team is on hand, ready, discreet and stealthy, working carefully on every last detail.

    This is absolutely the basic setting for me, letting me switch off from reality, fly away and enter that fleeting world which I have to try to pin down. The “Photographer of Silence” as Humberto Rivas, the great Argentinean portrait artist was known, tried to capture in his shots the inner workings of the people who stood before his lens. And that is how I feel too when I am creating, with silence and mystery as a back-cloth, listening to people and hearing their surroundings breathe, and making the whole essence of the scene mine with just a tiny click at the moment of inspiration.

    The mute, silent magic of photography is what traps and secures the deepest and most sincere essence of a human being.