Photography is usually associated with the act of seeing, like modern painting. It was born in connection with science, as a tool for recording the results of neutral observation. On the other extreme, photography has to do with visual hunting: the photographer has an intrinsic power over its observable subjects and this power becomes part of the picture making. In both cases – either disappearing from or prevailing over a subject – what is central to this type of visual work is capturing a (more or less) aware and/or recognizable object, in order to show it to viewers in different times and places.
Photography can also be considered in a whole different way.
A first step is to focus on the connections between things – the rhythm of the seen – as opposed to the identity of the objects out there. The act of photographing can be then performed with a paradoxical stance: using a framing instrument in order to un-frame, that is to explore, one’s own capacity to see.
Moving one step further from this kind of systemic approach, photography can be undertaken as a way to work not only on vision and perception, but on a more general state of being: reminding and refining one’s own capacity to be present, therefore aware about what is there, and open to what will be next. In this sense, it can be associated to a performative art: learning to be in a definite space and time and ready for internal and external events to happen.
The idea is to develop a craft – camera adjustments but also body adjustments in space and light – and then expose this craft with intention and effort to the occurrence of chance, in a specific chosen arena. In this framework, intention becomes the conscious act of choosing a time and place with a certain medium and skill, and chance involves the occurrence of correlations between internal and external events. The images become evidence of encounters between intention and chance, so defined, in the arena of natural environments. This type of process has then to do with experiencing complexity in nature and taking a deliberate (epistemic, emotional and physical) position in it.
The divide between neutral observation and subjective expression is challenged: the idea is not to control and eliminate unwanted noise in order to produce perfect, aesthetically standardized, reproductions of a reassuring objective or conquered reality, but to witness the occurrence of complex correlations between the inside and the outside world.
(The struggle for) presence is preferred to (the struggle for) perfection.