Frieze Zona Maco

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Walking round the streets of my town, I often notice the wedding photos as I pass in front of a photographic studio. Shy smiles stamped on the faces of the newlyweds and static dummy-like poses are what I most frequently see, with everything soaked in that atmosphere of the magic moment which will endure forever and which automatically becomes a memory the instant the photo is taken.. But didn’t they get married just the day before yesterday? Yet it seems as if what has been photographed is an event which happened in our memories and not in the present. Not to mention the fact that the photographer’s boredom as he carries out his professional duty pervades every shot, adorning the subjects with a staticity which not even the most daring Baroque conceptions possessed. Then I saw Ewa’s works. The actors are the same as those in the photos I see as I walk around town, but through the lens of this particular photographer they are reciting a completely different script. We might say they are immersed unawares in an action theatre session, where the main element becomes the naturalness of the gestures captured at the most unexpected moments. The comparison with the theatre is not a chance one. It is there in fact that Ewa trained her eye. Collaborating with the Dublin Youth Dance company, the Irish Modern Dance Theatre and the Irish National Youth Ballet, to name just a fewshe acquired a passion for dance and movement, captured in its passage from the soul to the body, which became the subject of her photography. What is captured in her photos loses the aspect of future memory and becomes inexorably linked to the present, to that vital current flowing through people in that precise instant. The particularity of her photography is I believe also due to her capacity for transmitting the joy of doing all that, triggering a sort of curiosity which becomes explicit in the moment when the photographed subjects realise they are not posed dummies, but participants in an event; this event is not so much the wedding as photography itself. Thus, ending up in an album is only the natural consequence, not the main aim.

Everything is captured in its natural succession: the final preparations, with the finishing touches to the bride’s make-up or the last-minute adjustment to the bridegroom’s tie; the cu-rious children who are perhaps not quite able to understand why such a huge celebratory do needs to be organized to seal the love between two people; the trepidation of the guests, who await the event chattering with a glass of champagne in their hands; and finally the moments following the ceremony, when Ewa captures the relaxed, genuine joy shared by everybody present. Events follow on in the photographs as in real life, while the filter of the camera lens shows us the flow of the emotions expressed. Thus a single great moment is composed from a sequence of situations, with people finding themselves unexpectedly acting the role of themselves, seeming almost surprised to discover how interesting and often amusing this is. Ewa’s merit lies in this, her ability to create an artistic approach to a kind of photography which is not normally thought to be capable of expressing qualities which go beyond the sterile reporting of an event. This type of approach thus allows her access to hidden contents and unexpected possibilities. The people probably perceive all this and are induced, without needing any forcing, to cooperate with what we might call the artist’s operational philosophy. Yes, artist, since that’s what Ewa must be called, because of her capacity for triggering unusual inner mechanisms in the people who become her subjects, for making them participate in the discovery of a different way of seeing and feeling which is not exclusively linked to an event like a wedding, but has a wider significance related to a personal, original vision of things. The material available to each artist is always something commonly known to everyone. The difference lies in the reworking of this material, in the ability to re-interpret and reassemble it so as to present it to the viewer in a completely new guise which is able to reveal new points of view.