While studying photography at an art academy, my interest has moved away from the “pure” photograph and focused up on the snapshots that people take of family, friends, holidays, vacations, and group images. Snapshots have an enormous value for the person who is either a part of, or somehow related to, the people or place that has been photographed. But how does a photograph get this value? Why is photography such a fascinating medium? The work in this series, titled “In the Shadow of Photography”, is a visual essay on photography that attempts to answer these questions.
There have been many texts written about photography since its invention. “In the Shadow of Photography” is inspired by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Douglas Crimp and others. I'm examining similar topics using mostly visual language, which reveals another aspect of the discourse on the essence of photography.
The work consists of three chapters. The first is searching for the specifics of photography; the second investigates photographic world; and the third is examining how the behavior and thinking of people has changed since the invention of photography. The exhibition is including topics such as: photography as a time traveling machine; why a person has a stage fright while being photographed; how the present is becoming a stage for the future; or how are we loosing the possibility to get an authentic memory from a photographic attempt to conserve it. These reflections are presented through the mediums of drawing, text, collages, photographs, objects, video and animation.
A wide spectrum of the public is interested in photography—hobby photographers that are mainly interested in technique, as well as people interested in art. There are more people who come to visit photographic exhibitions than those who read books on the theory of photography. “In the Shadow of Photography” shown in the context of other photographic works is a way to smuggle the theory of photography into exhibitions that are attended by the general public.
IN THE SHADOW OF PHOTOGRAPHY, 2007 (extended in 2009)
exhibition 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 0 book 1 2 3 0 about
Joan Fontcuberta about In the Shadow of Photography:
Rencontre d'Arles, exhibition catalogue, 2009
In the early times photography was called 'the art of fixing a shadow'; today a young and talented Slovakian photographer, Magda Stanová, reverses that expression and offers a vision of what we might call 'In the Shadow of Photography'. This is the title of her current project, which I discovered last year in the Talent Latent exhibition, devoted to emerging artists and organised by the new photo festival SCAN in Tarragona. I immediately thought that her body of work deserved the widest recognition. Stanová makes an intelligent, heterodox reflection an the medium of photography by means of found photos, drawings and writings. She focuses on the way the appearance, democratisation and extension of photography has acquired a prominent role in our lives and has changed our social behaviour. We are confronted with situations which show how the camera provides us with the role of actors in a life filled with fictions and stereotypes. In sum, Stanová's work seems to me a funny and delicate philosophical survival kit for a better understanding of the influential, omnipresent shadow of photography.
Álvaro de los Ángeles about In the Shadow of Photography:
Talent Latent, exhibition catalogue, 2008
The project In the Shadow of Photography is eminently photographical in a twofold sense: it talks about a presence which is also an absence, in the sense that it reflects on the medium of photography with very few actual photographs; and it considers its own self-reference in a natural, innate way, without forcing any awkward situations. This reflection is carried out from an essential yet (or possible necessarily) invisible position. It considers the way in which the appearance, democratisation and extension of photography has changed our social behaviour.
This set of twenty-eight objects includes drawings, photographs taken from printed media, a book, a camera, a back-projected animation onto the edges of a frame identical to that used for the other works... Everything is explained and yet remains open, in a kind of subtle suspense, much like the title of the installation itself. We live and behave under the influential, omnipresent shadow of photography and yet increasing it doesn't serve as much to describe us as to make us players in a life completed by the fiction created by its scenes.