Visual Alchemy

Maria Chiara Fagioli

Who are you, oh Photography!

Photography is the transportable vehicle that carries information and syntax of experience.
It interprets the social change, testimony of the society we live in by intersecting technical modalities. In the 21st century, we have the convergence of photography with computer-based literacy, radically changing speeds, processes, debates, and trends. The film roll remains a medium to be archived or to be exposed, a memory of memory brushed up, if necessary, collectively. The birth of photography saw a mechanical device creating realistic images, in proportion to the times, primarily for cultural and social purposes, nourishing the traveller’s curiosity or what is ethnographic and anthropological documented with respectful reflection.
Between art and science, initially it was difficult to be placed. Accuracy was the specific feature of the medium, which was intended to recreate faithfully what the human eye saw, and later to give a personal style through the technique imposed by the hand, and so on, compositions and rules, image manipulation. In the industrial era it has become a representative and democratic means, albeit with significant differences between mass-media and sophisticated models. So the utility has extended up to fashion, ad, and forensic sectors, reinforcing also the concept of uniqueness now easily reproducible.
And every novelty breaks old certainty. The obvious correspondence with reality becomes digital manipulation, distorts realism, is flow of unconsciousness.
It is the human eye that makes majestic the photographic parable, candid curious radical significance dreamer. It was during the ’90s that photography has embraced other areas, such as graphics and typography, and skills have begun to expand and mix. Moreover, photographic images have changed also according to the processing and reproduction development, and finishing. On screen, they display a peculiar brightness or typical backlight, making the experience of the same picture so different from the printed version. Chemistry becomes a digital cloud, realism blurs toward abstraction.


© Maria Chiara Fagioli, Anaesthesia series, 2017-2018, Digital photography, 50 × 75 cm


So, the spectator-vision relationship also depends on the aesthetic and technological context, by relativising a way of living the medium in complex systems and multiple execution possibilities, engaging emotionally at various levels.

The theorized content interpretation is gradually overturned, and the empty message that was believed to be intrinsic in the multiplicity of portrayed “Figures”, as the quality of the thing itself, becomes an attempt of generative semiotics to be coded and transferred to the viewer. The significance of the message does not only reflect what the eye sees, but goes beyond the perception and the subject, expounding organized structures of different attributive status, in a kind of semantic grid of associative nature or less. Behind the “Mirror” we find the cosmos, the knowledge, our relationship with the existing society. Photography opens to the sequence, imaginary and structural movement, the lexeme abounds with lexemes. Photography is permanence, truth, dimensionality, and it can be just the opposite as abstract and transformative seed. Being and having to be actualised, significantly changes deeds over the years, focusing the attention on narrative-object motives.

The common denominator of photography is the technical instrumentation for obtaining the image: instrument and image. The 21st century sees the growth of a class of image makers who explore the boundaries of the medium to make it instrument of instrument, and open it to the broader sense of visual imagery connected to contemporary visual arts. Snap is eye, manipulation is intervention, increasingly sophisticated and multi-coordinate.



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