// Rafael is from Mexico City, now living in Oaxaca, Mexico. He is a social psychologist by profession, and has been an aficionado of photography for around twenty years, primarily documentary photography both professionally and for personal pleasure. More recently, he has begun exploring artistic photography. We are happy to share some of his photos from the series “Hidden Scapes”, part of his explorations of the meaning or manifestation of “reality”.
His explorations into photo art delve particularly into the abstract and experimental – as a tool to further explore his cogitations on perception, the interpretation of reality and the construction of meaning. These are topics Rafael has explored as part of his work as a social psychologist.
“Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science.”
What draws you to the arts?
“Art is a medium to sense the mysteries of life. Contemplation or creation of art opens a portal, a quantum shortcut, to the deepest questions about existence, life, purpose… Art is the ultimate human expression; through art we connect and dialogue in a most profound manner. Art is the expression of the universe, the artist is just its medium through which it expresses.”
What do you like best about your desert photo series?
“Beyond the philosophical explorations that subtend this series, there is an aesthetic enjoyment both in the making process and in the contemplation of the final result. While shooting, there is a somehow well planned intention both in the composition and in the use of long exposure, low ISO and aperture that allow for movement and the incidence of light to be used as a paintbrush over a canvas, but even as practice concedes greater control over these factors, there is always an element of surprise that comes up in the end. Highly pareidolic patterns emerge unexpectedly, chromatic aberrations, ghostly shadows and other jolting elements appear. Like an alchemist in his laboratory transforms matter into new forms, in the editing process new elements appear and are exaggerated or played down through digital manipulation in a playful process that resembles the liberty of freehand painting.”
This series is called Hidden Scapes. It is an attempt to meditate on questions like “What is reality”? How do we, as we perceive it, actually create our own reality? Is there one true reality and can it be known, expressed, represented? Can we produce new realities or at least new ways to represent reality or aspects of reality otherwise unknown (and unknowable)?
Hidden Scapes is a series of ICM, long exposure photographs mostly of natural and urban landscapes and some still-life shots. Movement and slow shutter speed render highly distorted, many times unrecognizable depictions of what would normally be easily recognizable, everyday life scenes: a street, mountains, people, pets, a bowl of fruit… To augment this effect, images are processed, but no elements are added or removed, only exposure, colour intensity and saturation, contrast and brightness are adjusted to emphasize patterns, deepen shadows or intensify certain colours.
Hidden Scapes pretends to depict reality in a different way from what our brains does, or to depict other realities within the same reality. What we see is the result of a highly intricate series of operations happening through our eyes and in our brains. Reality as we see it is not necessarily THE reality but just one interpretation of it; a collection of fragments of information from reality presented in a form that makes sense to us. A traditional photograph mimics this process and gives us a replica of what we see, objects, people, places. Much like in a movie, reality as we see it is a succession of millions of photographs over time. In Hidden Scapes Rafael attempts to twitch the correlation of time and space and to depict light over long periods of time and from shifting perspectives, melting all that information into a single image. The results are strange scapes hidden in familiar images.
These images are just another depiction of the same reality that we perceive as time goes before our eyes and we move through space, but interpreted in a different way. Reality, therefore, emerges different, bizarre, beautiful and even scary at times. These are the hidden scapes that escape the exegetic possibilities of our sensory apparatus but are revealed through the use of technology.
The photographer, just like the poet as Vicente Huidobro conceived him in Arte Poética, becomes a “little God”.
Click on the photos to see a larger image. Some images may be cropped for layout.
ALL PHOTOS © RAFAEL BUCIO
To see more of his photography visit Rafael´s Instagram page.