Leonardo Magrelli


I find very useful and intriguing to organize my pictures under the shadow of the work of someone else. For the photographs I took in the United States, I leaned under Vladimir Nabokov‘s Lolita. Given all the obvious differences, I found myself to have more than something in common with the main character. Humbert Humbert is the mask that Nabokov, coming from the old European continent, uses to explore the body of a young and sensual America: «An […] intelligent reader […] described Lolita as „Old Europe debauching young America,“ while another […] saw in it „Young America debauching old Europe“». I as well came from the old Europe to the United States. So: did I debauched America, or did America debauched me? Furthermore, there is a similarity between Hubert Humbert‘s behavior and my personal approach to photography. When I take pictures I do it alone, by my self, trying not to be seen: I observe unobserved, like Humbert Humbert does with when he spies on his Lolita. And like him, I wonder about my object of desire, but at distance, partially afraid to interact with it, almost ashamed of my urge, and of what I‘m doing.

The Meerror project shows what mirrors reflect when we are not in front of them. It consists in a series of photos taken facing a mirror, so we should see ourselves reflected in it, but we don’t, as if we were invisible. The result are real images, that exist in the world, but that we can never witness, for we are their own interference. In fact, we will never be able to observe directly what a mirror shows when we are not facing it, because every time we step in front of it, the image that was reflected a moment before is modified by our appearance. Only disappearing, we can observe reality without alterations.
Thus self-portrait and still life collide, creating images that are both the things and none at the same time. In fact, up to where is it legitimate to speak of portrait? Each one of these pictures premise it and is the result of the cancellation of a self-portrait. Yet is our very absence, an absence that turns these images into still lives, that triggers the mechanism of the picture.
Finally, it is worth analyzing the boundaries of digital photography and the possibilities of photo manipulation. In fact, a medium should be studied and used to try to show things that no other medium can express. In this specific case, only through the digital manipulation of the image, we are able to see what nor our eyes neither the camera lens could: what mirrors reflect when we are not in front of them.

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