Sunday, April 17, 2011

Capturing the moment or more?

Photography is frequently considered as the art of capturing the right moment. Certainly, this is a very distinctive aspect of photography which finds its place extensively in the work of the French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue.

Jacques Henri Lartigue, Dive (1902)
Lartigue’s intent in capturing the moment was to reveal the interesting scenes that we miss with our eyes. These surreal images put people in situations that look unrealistic: A boy diving into the water looks like as if he is floating on the surface, a woman jumping down the stairs looks like as if she is flying.

Jacques Henri Lartigue, Flight (1903)
But is this all that photography offers us? Capturing the moment… Or perhaps can we extract more out of these snapshots of time?

This question has been intriguing for many photographers and still keeps initiating contemporary photographers to explore different points of view trying to find their own answer. Irina Werning, a young photographer from Buenos Aires, is one of them. She tries telling the unknown stories of people through their pictures in the past and present.

Irina Werning, Matias (1977 - 2010)
In her project “Back to the Future” she recreates the settings of early childhood pictures of different people. The only things that change in the photographs are the people themselves. Sometimes these changes are quite expected, but sometimes they can be pretty radical.

Irina Werning, La Negra (1980 - 2010)
Werning shows us two snapshots from people’s lives. In between are unknown stories that sometimes reveal themselves slightly through the snapshots. Yet, the blanks are abundant and are still there for the viewer to fill.

The search for alternative answers to the question of whether photography can serve as more than capturing the moment leads us to undiscovered or even nonexistent shores. Perhaps photography can do more than just capturing the moment. Perhaps we can capture stories through photography; we can capture lives.

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