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Lux et Filum – A Contemporary Vision of Caravaggio

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LUX ET FILUM | Monica Silva

The photo does not call up the past (nothing Proustian in a photograph). The effect it produces upon me is not to restore what has been abolished (by distance, by time), but to attest that what I see indeed existed…” Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida

This quote starts the preface of Lux Et Filum, a photographic project by Monica Silva, inspired by the great Caravaggio. Caravaggio was one of the leading artists during the Renaissance; he masterfully portrayed the society of his contemporaries through careful observation of the human state, both physical and emotional. He is known to have had a formative influence on the Baroque painting. Lux Et Filum, (Latin for Light And Canvas), is not only inspired by his most famous works but reinvents them, by placing them at the center of a simple question: How would these same paintings be portrayed today?

Characters and poses remain the same, but the subject matter is transformed into a 21st century setting. The chiaroscuro (light and shade) Caravaggio was known for, allows characters and objects to emerge from darkness. In Silva’s interpretation, non-contextualized backgrounds are replaced by uniformed pastel tones and solid colors, keeping the original functionality of the background; to leave the actors suspended in vague places, describing them simply by objects and furniture in the composition.

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We got to know more about Monica Silva and Lux Et Filum:

Could you share a bit about yourself and your career?

I fell in love with photography before I really knew what it was about. Growing up in a poor neighborhood of Sao Paulo I never had any cultural feedback. By chance, I discovered the magic of photography using a friend’s disposable camera and Polaroid.
At first photography was just a hobby. I acquired my first film camera when I moved to London to study in 1986. After studies I moved to Italy, where I live today. I started as assistant director for world-renowned commercial directors, which was also my way into photography. I got to meet the right people on set, which was a huge benefit when I decided to focus on photography full time. I grabbed my portfolio and applied for jobs with all major newspapers. At the time I did not even know how to use a flash system, but I knew I had to believe in myself before others would. I have been a professional photographer ever since, and I am proud to have worked for international brands like Sony, BMG, Universal as well as photograph for institutional clients and reportage publications. My work has appeared in leading magazines and newspapers like Max, Vanity Fair, Sette, El Pais, Panorama Travel, Style and many others.
In 2008 I felt the need to do something for myself, without business obligations. This desire led to my first fine art photographic exhibition called “Life Above All“. The collection was based on the book “The Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters and ended up being the key to a whole new world of photography for me, and further led to a series of exhibitions; On my Skin (Bologna 2010), My Hidden Ego (2011) and The Butterfly’s Fall – Postcards from Tokyo (Milan, 2013) and now LUX ET FILUM.

What would we, as the viewer, need to know about the painter and the idea behind the final project?

Lux Et Filum – A contemporary vision of Caravaggio“, comes from a need to create something that could go beyond photography. My dream was to return to my hometown, Sao Paulo, with something special. I wanted to show the skills and achievements I’ve obtained away from home. I’ve spent hours and hours studying Caravaggio, which in my mind is the number one Baroque painter. He is said to be the very first photographer in history because his images have a unique reality to them. Perhaps because he loved to use real people in his paintings; prostitutes in sacred images, homeless as saints, powerful men and ordinary people from the streets, recreating the contemporaneous idea of his time.
The project was born from a question: “If Caravaggio lived in our time, how would his masterpieces look?” I did not want to make exact replicas of his much loved chiaroscuro, I just wanted to get inspirations from his works, to photograph my personal reading of our time. I wanted to capture the nuances and the refined beauty of Caravaggio’s brush strokes. So with “The Musicians” I didn’t envision the same 4 handsome young boys but I saw a Chinese girl as Cupid. And “St. Jerome” is no longer an old man but a young man with dreadlocks, he is a modern street artist. In “Supper at Emmaus”, I captured my idea of religion, as seen in Caravaggio’s version, with Christian, Islamic, Jewish and a Buddhist models in a peaceful and friendly dinner without disputes.

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The exhibition in Sao Paulo is planned to go beyond displaying the photographs, can you elaborate on what is going to happen?

The idea of the exhibition is to create an emotional experience for the visitors. With support from the very talented video artist Giuseppe La Spada, we arranged interactive stations with each photograph. The visitor will walk among large prints and build up individual emotions only to finally end up in a room where they will be the main character, acting as a video director in their own studio adding their own effects to the images. The final result should be an explosion of sounds and images, which will amuse and amaze the viewer.

What did the Phase One equipment you used in the project bring to the images?

This whole emotional journey for the exhibition, due to the size of the prints, was only made possible with the Phase One camera system. The first part of the project was shot with an IQ180 digital back, 80 megapixel full-frame 645 with a 80mm f/2.8 LS lens. This was for the portrait of the Italian pianist Stefano Bollani who posed in a classic portrait. This is the only chiaroscuro styled image in the project. I shot tethered at ISO 35 to see the image in “real-time” on the monitor, it looked like I had two Bollanis on the set, it was more than amazing. The second stage of the project was shot in studio with different models. This was shot with the legendary P40+ digital back and a 75-150mm lens. This camera performed impeccably, in some cases it seems like the subjects are about to pop out of the prints, but I have to be honest it has nothing on the performance and quality of the incredible IQ180 digital back.

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What has the reactions been to the project?

I’m very proud of the feedback I’m receiving from my peers. We are creating a wall where art and literature representatives can leave their reactions to the project, and I am so happy with the success of the responses so far. I am especially honored by the feedback from the cultural patronage of the Government of the State of Sao Paulo who guarantee the moral and cultural importance of the project by declaring:  Lux Et Filum, “a project of great importance that contributes to culture’ spreading.

If we allow the medium of photography to replace art in some of its functions,

it will be soon supplanted or completely corrupt […]”

Charles Baudelai

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Monica Silva used broncolor Equipment like the Para Reflectors or the Scoro and the Pulso-Spot 4 while shooting for the Lux Filum Project.

Lux et Filum is now visible at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura San Paolo, Brazil from March 17th until April 17th 2015.

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Fabian Rodrigues: A Reflection of the Skateboarding Movement

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Fabiano Rodrigues was born in Santos, São Paulo, 1974. He approached photography through skateboarding, first appearing in photographs as a professional skateboarder, while performing maneuvers throughout Brazil and Europe.
 The interest in composition, in motion capture and architecture, propelled him to photograph other skaters in the city, so as to be recognized both as a photographer and as a skater.

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In search of a language capable of accomplishing his expressions and performance ambitions, Fabiano has been creating his own self portraits of skateboarding performances since 2010. Shooting with a Hasselblad camera using a remote control, he records the apex of his own motion in a previously planned framework. These photographs are always one off prints, exploring the history and repertoire of skateboarding movements, particularly its relationship with the city, its architecture and urban furniture.

In his choices of locations, there is a special interest for architectural landmarks, such as buildings designed by the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Fabiano was awarded the Banco Espírito Santo Acquisition Prize in 2012 and 2013 consecutively, having two of his works donated to the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo Collection, which were further showed at the exhibition: Arte Contemporanea Brasileira in Estação Pinacoteca. His artistic relationship with this institution provided Fabiano with the opportunity to create a series of photos and maneuvers inside the museum, proposing a new exchange of body interaction and outlook, with the award-winning revitalization project, by yet another renowned architect, Paulo Mendes da Rocha.

 

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From this experience, followed a series of skateboarding and photographs taken within Art Institutions, such as The MALBA,Buenos Aires, Argentina, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, MAC São Paulo, Poznan, Cultural Centre in Poland. 
Fabiano Rodrigues will be exhibiting his potographs at the First Bienal of Photography, MASP Pirelli in São Paulo, curated by Ricardo Rezende from 14 august 2013.

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Says Fabiano of his work…

“Im self taught photographer. At first, it is the fun of skating and photographing at the same time, but as a project, its producing a photo shoot in an artistic way, where the picture comes in the first place, and the trick is what matters the least. I want to shoot the majority of the photos in natural light, and always taking the architecture of the spot into consideration. Its hard doing the trick and clicking at the right time, but its so much fun… as is everything that involves skateboarding.”

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“All the photos are only one copy, cotton paper, 1,10 x 1,47.”

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An avid fan of Hasselblad’s image quality, Rodrigues discusses the equipment he uses for his self portraits.

“A Hasselblad H4D-31, whith 80mm f/2.8, lens adapter, and fish eye 30mm f/3.5, tripod and wireless remote shooter.”

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Inspired by people such as Jerri Rossato Lima, Fernando Martine Ferreira, and Renato Custódio, Rodrigues is constantly creating. He loves everything about the process of the work he creates.

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“There’s no worst part! I just love skateboarding and photography…. So, Im feeling very blessed….”

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To see more of Fabiano’s work, visit the sites below:

http://fabianorodriguesphotography.tumblr.com/

http://www.fecalface.com/SF/good-stuff/5652-fabiano-rodrigues-self-portraits

http://www.galerialogo.com/en/artists/fabiano-rodrigues

Caesar Lima “Steampunks” Papercut Magazine

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Steampunk – a word describing steam-powered machinery, western fantasy, rebellion in a quasi-Victorian world and a subculture where antique meets contemporary, is the focal point of this collection. Award-winning fashion photographer Caesar Lima’s “Viva la Revolución!” photo ensemble for Papercut Magazine turned many heads. The model clads mad scientist glasses, a metal headpiece,  provocative black gloves that reach the elbows, and an erotic fashion mystique known only as industrial-chic. Or, as Lima describes, “when steampunk, fantasy and high fashion unite.”

Steampunk – Viva la Revolución! from Caesar Lima on Vimeo.

Since 1991, Caesar has been mixing simplicity with edginess to create a stunning portfolio. Caesar Lima is a master of creating fresh, unique and visually stimulating work and finding ways to push the limits of photography and design. His repertoire features photos of feline fatale Catwoman, athletes on an all-black background, and the T-Mobile alter-ego campaign and commercial featuring a pink and black Ducati. He attributes the uniqueness of his work to his “non-purist” inclination and imagery. Caesar has recently received multiple accolades and awards including four IPA Awards in 2012, one IPA Award in 2011, Archive 200 Best, 2010 IPA Awards, 2010 PX3 in Paris, 2009 IPA Award and 2009 Addy Award to name a few.

In Caesar’s own words:

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, crazy about photography, technology and soccer, have a studio in Los Angeles. I do a lot of conceptual photography in the beauty and fashion industry, and a little bit of still life, we’ve been shooting a lot of people. I love to work with a big crew and enjoy working with a creative group. ie. models, make up artists, stylists, hair people, art directors etc…

I have a BA in Advertising. I should be working as an art or creative director, but when I was in school (the first time I’ve stepped into a professional studio), I knew exactly what I wanted to do! I felt in love with the equipment, cameras and the whole mood.

I started shooting in Brazil assisting a couple photographers. Then, in 1984, I had an opportunity to come to Los Angeles for the Olympics and liked it so much that I moved to LA in 1985. I opened a studio in my garage and start shooting lots of product for advertising. I research a lot and I try to develops new – unique looks, I do test a lot I love to play with lighting.

[My photo heroes are] David LaChapelle, Richard Avedon, Jill Greenberg, Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz and Miro + Luis Crispino in Brazil but also I follow Marc Newson, Philippe Starck, Rashid and Jonathan Eve – amazing designers.

 

Learning from the Pro

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What are we going to shoot today?

Steampunk inspired fashion shoot for Papercut Magazine with amazing furniture / props by Mark Silka. The model is Cherish Waters from Pinkerton Models. The model is young and has great skin.

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I need drama. Lighting has to be moody with lots of shadows. I need attitude from Cherish…I will make her jump, scream and cry we need to tell a story visually without words, that’s the trick.

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How did you learn how to do what you are about to show us?

Doing it, but in every shoot I do I try something new something different, something not planned.

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What tools are you using to make this image?

My weapon is my new Hasselblad H4D with the 100mm lens. My belief is that you should use the best equipment you can afford; it’s very important to be able to use the best tools on the market.

 

Caesar Lima Photography