If a year ago, anyone had told us that we would count almost a million and a half deaths from a pandemic and just over 55 million infected, we would have called him crazy or at least, qualified as someone who brought bad luck. Our reality is instead a sad reality of death, contagion, improvisation, unconsciousness, but also of strength, resilience, heroism and unity.
With this end-of-year article (my first year as Dodher) I want to show as, a way to make art like photography, has managed to overcome reality and bring hope, confidence and perspective. In this way photography is contributing to transform pain into beauty and death into new life. This is the wish I make to all Dodho readers and to all artists who have to reinvent themselves in order to survive.
A bouquet of flowers
At the beginning of the last March, my father-in-law gave to his daughter (my wife) a bouquet of flowers collected from the garden of his homestead. It was about roses, a hydrangea and a small calla. When this bouquet arrived at our house, I did not know that it was going to become the lockdown symbol. On March 16th we had to confine ourselves and this bouquet accompanied us in the long months of restrictions, showing us how its freshness was transforming with the passage of time. I decided to photograph it every month that passed and what you see above is the visual metaphor and the symbol of what we have all felt and lived during the lockdown.
Art as a trench
Art frees the human being from the immediate, to take it to different dreamy dimensions. In this way Art allows to build a lifebelt, a trench where to take refuge, to defend ourselves from the cold outside. We who take photographs, on the one hand, we can use it to portray what we live, feel and see and on the other we can use the same photographs as a tool to live again, feel again, see again. Only those who have memories, only those who know how to use their imagination, can face the difficult and the bitter and alleviate the loneliness that we suffer in complicated situations such as a pandemic. Photography helps to remember and imagine …
The photo archives
During the lockdown I have dusted and devoted time and space to my neglected 35mm slide photo archive. Until 2005 I have taken pictures with a glorious Pentax ME Super. Align the slides on the light table; use a magnifying glass to enter into the world enclosed in each small rectangle; decide which of them to digitize; see them with all their imperfections on the computer screen; reveal them to get the most out of them; share them in some photographers web-communities, it has been like an astral journey, an escape in space, in time and in myself that has made me enjoy, laugh, cry, shock, abstract me, inspire me.
Social Network for photographers
During lockdown, I asked myself: what are other photographers doing? how are they living and representing this so singular moment? I am not very active in social networks, but I do like to keep in touch with those with whom I share a hobby. I am part of 1X and 500PX, two photographers communities in which you can see, learn, comment, receive opinions, find like-minded people, get inspired. I decided for once, to operate as a curator and searched in these two social networks for images related to Pandemic, COVID, Lockdown. I have selected those that for me are the most representative of some aspect related to the pandemic and I have categorized them into four themes:
- New Normality
I have asked the authors for permission to publish their works on this platform and here I publish just those for which I have authorization from the author himself.
I don’t know what happens in the other countries, but Spanish medias rightly give much space to the great difficulties suffered by restaurants, hotels, bars, but much less to the burden, suffering and exhaustion of health personnel. I have clearly understood why I am not a doctor, nurse or assistant; because surely in these moments, I would not be able to use temperance in my work. I would not use temperance in my work, because I would be sick of what is happening, sick of the political verbiage that does not have a follow-up in facts; sick of the unconsciousness of many that are not able to empathize with those who ultimately suffer and die and that, if and when they become infected, pretend to be cured. I dedicate these images to those who fight on the front line and sometimes die to save others, in a supreme act of selflessness…
Rui Caria, Portugal – https://1x.com/member/ruicaria
Rui Caria, Portugal – https://1x.com/member/ruicaria
Limiting our movements, shutting ourselves up in our homes, forcibly sharing spaces and time with our cohabitants, has presupposed a drastic adaptation of our habits, our way of being, our social protocols. Meanwhile, medias provided us with images of empty, silent, sad cities, sometimes taken over by wild animals. I dedicate these images to each of us who have known how to resist, endure, obey, adapt, accept …
Emine Basa, Turkey – https://1x.com/member/eminebasa
Niyazi Gürgen, Turkey – https://1x.com/member/niyazigurgen
Paco de la Corte, Spain – https://1x.com/member/Pacodlacorte
Without COVID19 we would never have witnessed such a radical change in the way of working supported by the available technology. Smart working is now a reality that has come to stay and that has revolutionized work schemes based on business trips, face-to-face work, structured teams in work islands. It has been discovered that this new way of working favors conciliation with family life, reduces accidents, pollution, absenteeism and could even be a tool that could help repopulate the Emptied Europe of which I spoke in my previous article (Genius Loci) . For those of us who have had the immense luck of keeping our job and simply changing the way we do it, smart working has been our salvation, our safety anchor. These images serve to remind ourselves of the immense luck we are having and are also an invitation to remember and act to help those who are not having the same luck …
Lu cia, Italy – https://500px.com/p/luciluu?view=photos
Ohad Redlich, Israel– https://500px.com/p/ohadredlich?view=photos
“Adda passá la nottata”… it is said in Naples to say that despite being in a dark period, the day will always come. We will be able to defeat and overcome this pandemic as well or at least control it. What is clear is that, as always happens when something happens, nothing will be as before. The sooner we will understand it and the faster will be our ability to adapt. I dedicate these images to those who already imagine the future, to those who already show us the new path, to those who show us the light at the end of the tunnel.
Luca Domenichi, Italy – https://1x.com/member/luca888
Filiberto Galli, Italy – https://1x.com/member/filgalli
Happy and Responsible New Year
One of the things that this pandemic has revealed is the interdependence of humanity. Alone we do nothing, and our individual value is low. I believe and hope that, by now, many people have become aware that our world is not sustainable for much longer, that another pandemic is likely, that Nature is warning us. Trust, altruism, empathy and individual responsibility must be fostered, aspects that have unfortunately shown their precariousness during this pandemic. On the other hand, we must believe, practice and promote art because it allows us to navigate with the imagination, appreciate beauty, open our minds and make ourselves good people. It is necessary to persecute those nations or local governments that instead of pampering and promoting the spread of an artistic conscience, attack and hinder it, thinking that works related to art are not productive (as the government of England did, although it was later portrayed).
“Auguri” for a 2021 full of art, hope, empathy, beauty, altruism and individual responsibility.
I am a curious of life with idealistic tendencies and a fighter. I believe that shadows are the necessary contrast to enhance the light. I am a lover of nature, of silence and of the inner beauty. My photographic history is quite silent publicly but very rich personally, studded with some great satisfactions such as: gold and silver winner in MUSE Awards 2023 Special Category; Highly Commended in IGPOTY 2022 Wildflowers Landscapes and Breathing Spaces, published photographer in 1X; honorable mention in Pollux Award 2019; commended in IGPOTY 2019 B&W section; highly commended in IGPOTY 2018 Abstract section; selected in 2014 for Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña and in VIPHOTO. Group exhibitions in: Atlántica Colectivas FotoNoviembre 2015 and 2013; selected for the Popular Participation section GetxoPhoto 2020 and 2015; ”PhotoVernissage (San Petersburgo) 2012; DeARTE 2012 y 2013. A set of my images belongs to the funds of Tecnalia company in Bilbao, to the collection of the "Isla de Tenerife" Photography Center and to the Medicos sin Fronteras collection in Madrid. [Website]