12.02.2013 ioana popescu
This small volume seeks to demystify the photographic image of the 20th century. By applying the "presumption of doubt" to these "objective", visual documents, we wish to draw attention to and highlight the subjectivity implicit in choosing perspective and working technique, in selecting the subject and, last but not least, bringing to the fore - through placement within the frame and positioning relative to the light - of what is intended to be shown first and foremost.
With the freedom that always accompanies a new perspective, we identified and selected photographs from the visual archive of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant that were taken during the first half of the last century - in villages and towns, outdoors and in the studio, by both amateur and professional photographers.
So this album aims to provide an ambitious and attractive form of visual interpretation, a code by means of which to understand the polysemantics of the photographic image.

One might believe that a specular image is a simple reflection, an autonomous and objective optical phenomenon; that our own faces reflected in the mirror represent us mechanically, the way we really are, as our true selves. Wrong! When we view ourselves in the mirror, we see the portrait we wish to show to those around us, a euphemised face, displayed in the most flattering pose (for we know only too well the difference between the two sides of our face and what light shows us to our best advantage).
And we are even less aware of what exists beyond the mirror and how we wish to be seen. We find it hard to believe that the mirror brings us face to face with an entire ideological context that includes the fashions, philosophies and beliefs of the day as well as the dominant artistic trends and aesthetic tastes in a given cultural space. When you become aware of all this, how can you then not be curious to discover what lies beyond the reflections in images of the Romanian habitat? How can you then not seek to understand the changing ways of depicting the world and, therefore, the process of identity building that took place during the early decades of the 20th century?

A beautiful woman
looking at her image in the mirror
may very well
believe the image
is herself.
An ugly woman knows it is not.
(Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace)

The display of the dowry, when the procession passes down the main street, serves to confirm the bride’s status in the community.
The larger the procession, the greater the cries of joy and dancing of the onlookers. The image, however, restricts itself to showing the exhibition of the dowry, devoid of any random movement. Whoever the photographer, the same composition is used for the potters’ procession and even that of the gypsies, standing neatly in line next to their horses held still for the photograph.
Nothing moves before the camera, the people are seated in rows according to age and strike the pose requested by the photographer. Have you ever encountered such human “installations” in a real-life village? On a smaller scale, do they not herald the future mass events of the Song of Romania festival?

Photos from the visual archive of the Museum of the Romanian Peasant

This is a fragment from the book Beyond The Mirror by Ioana Popescu, published by Martor Publishing House.
The second part of the book will be posted here on Thursday, 14th february.

More photos at the GF ARCHIVE

ioana popescuis ethnologist, Doctor of Philosophy, and Director of Research at the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest.
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Geo Scripcariu

12.02.2013 la 13:43

Buna ziua,

Am un articol de nivel de scoala doctorala (UAUIM Bucuresti) despre "Tentatia manipularii" in fotografie. Ati fi interesati?

Geo Scripcariu


graphic front

12.02.2013 la 13:47

- reply to Geo Scripcariu -

Geo, nu ti-am facut publice datele personale. Noi suntem deschisi la orice colaborare. Trimite pe adresa pr@atelieruldegrafica.ro intentia ta, si o sa-ti raspundem curand.


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