This week on Cargo

CN/090 — May 7 2019

A powerful alien eye





 
The camera is the most significant aspect of a photograph as well as the most hidden. The concealment is not dishonest though, it is of course practical — but it does undermine photography’s main conceit: capturing the world. The photographs of Petra van der Ree are a strange version in that they don’t necessarily capture but they do approximate our experience of the seen world.

One knows when looking at Ms. van der Ree’s images that they are seeing the unaltered surface of this planet yet all seems totally staged — almost polished. We volley that though her camera is not visible, she smartly makes the mechanistic nature of the camera a foremost aspect, causing what’s in view to feel cleaner and initially less emotional. But this cold, camera who fell to earth vibe is reversed almost immediately by her poetic gift to place this powerful alien eye. ☯






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That’s the whole point. What can we do to make an image of ourselves stick all over us, take shape, remain fixed long enough… Yes, for us to be able to contemplate it… A beautiful image… Oh, not even beautiful… an image of ourselves that we would love just as it is… That wouldn’t be transformed into an enormous shifting mass… Which contains everything… in which so many dissimilar things collide, destroy each other…

Nathalie Sarraute, You Don’t Love Yourself, 1990

Image: Jean Cocteau, Testament of Orpheus, 1960



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