Featured post

Contemporary Narratives - Photography: A Short Guide to History, Theory, and Practice: Online Course Starting April 27th 2022

  Sign up to my new series of talks on Contemporary Narratives - Photography: A Short Guide to History, Theory, and Practice .  Starts on Ap...

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Zona: You have to make the effort!

Nuno Moreira is a Portuguese photographer and Zona is his book of meditations on 'the realms of the psyche.'

In the blur, we see that the narrative of the book 'follows a live performance and is somewhat similar to a dream experience,' an experience that comes complete with 'mystery and ambiguity.'

The book comes with words by José Luís Peixoto that help us navigate through the story Moreira tells through his pictues. It's very much a joint effort.

It's a gentle story, but not the most transparent of stories, it's not a come-and-sit-by-the-fire-and-I'll-tell-you-a-story story, or a bedtime story, or a page turner, spine-tingler or tear-jerker of a story. Instead it's a story that you take on the photographer's terms. You have to adjust to his way of seeing, their way of thinking to understand what is happening, and this takes time and effort.

If you make the effort, the book is well worthwhile. It is a lovely paperback size with a hardback charcoal cover, and papers that make an Everton-Mint pattern.

The first picture is of a pair of hands rather awkwardly holding a key. Open the door, and we're in!

Toes are followed by feet are followed by a hand over a shoulder, then two hands of a woman on her own back, then fists steeped in a pan of milk.

It's all quite esoteric, but then the first text comes; a meditation on the need for a secret place, a place free of words, a place of silence because 'If you knew my eyes, you would know that everything I could not silence hurt me time and again.'

But this silence is not enough, life consists of more than just silence. Soon there is a clamour for somebody else, hands reaching against a wall, panics when the narration momentarily thinks they are alone, that the spirit and texture of whoever it is they love has left them. And they have left too, seeking solace in that silence.

And that is the final part, dead flowers on the table, the acceptance that one doesn't own life, or the spaces we inhabit, and nor are those spaces personal and owned individually. Rather they are communal spaces that we all inhabit, that we must co-exist in, and we must reach out of our individual silences to flourish.

So it's a lovely book if you make the effort. The pictures are black and white, high contrast images of what looks like modern dance. They are fine and but it's the words that give these pictures structure and meaning. And though it's a lovely meaning, I do wish it actually attached to some real love, that the metaphysical somehow became concrete and there was a tearjerker that I could emote to. But that's just me being simple and not making an effort. You do have to make an effort!

Buy the Book here

Read Christer Ek's review. 

No comments: