Blesok no. 53, March-April, 2007
Gallery Reviews

Double Discursiveness of a Photo-essay

Nebojša Vilić

    In the initial photography from the consecutive sequence of photographs taken by Vladimir Arsovski, it is shown a female nude holding golden frame and standing in front of black and white photo-background which also shows a female photo-model. By this the double discursiveness is being opened in this sequence of differently formatted six black-and-white and seventeen colour photographs. The paradigm of this photograph for the whole sequence is perceived in its two basic components.

    The first is the author’s- the subject of modelling/shaping procedure: framing and hesitating about the choice of the technique (colour or black-and-white), taking the both into consideration, it is the author’s approach towards his own formative experience and necessity. This conclusion emerges that is to say, derives from the presence of the golden frame in the hands of the female nude. That frame from one side, above all because of its golden colour, refers to moderation and defined proportionality of the antique golden essence, more particularly, the antique concept of perfection. The approaching towards balance of the shaping process during framing the reality (implicit representative aspect of the photographic medium)is anticipated from the image settled into the frame. But this “image in the frame” is being replaced by its expansion during which in the “frame of the photograph” (subjective, author’s extract from the reality) two more representative moments appear: the complete colour female nude and the other black-and-white photograph of the model from the photo-background. If this exceeding or expansion is put into comparison with the current photographic creativity in these regions, that could be interpreted as well as its own exceeding and expansion in the whole. In other words, in this photograph it is perceived the need for outgrowing of the discrete presence (mainly just indicated) of the female nude in the Macedonian photography in general. The following sequence of photographs only proves/confirms (by piling up, that is to say, by presence of large number of photographs in the photo-essay) the persistence in the author’s readiness to speak up for various aspects of the nude photographic art.

    But when it comes to author’s dilemma which technique to use, that is comprehended from the alternation of the coloured and black-and-white photographs in the sequence order of the photo-essay, which are indicated or suggested even in this initial photograph in the duality of coloured female nude and black-and-white model in the photo-background. On the other side there is another duality in the sequence and that is the choice of technological medium in the record of photographic matrix    seen in the duality of materialistic side of the nude ( as a metaphor for the analogue)and the big format digital print of the model in the background ( as a metaphor for the digital). There, or with it the author begins with the analogue recording in order to shift to the digital (towards the end of the sequence). The equation moment between different technological procedures is noticeable in the relation with the second and third phase of making photographs. In them, the author chooses the complete digital processing of the matrix record, and after that made also digital prints of the such processed record, achieving by that final coded structure (as a replacement of the chemical processing) which moves ahead the original photographic technological basis.

    By that it is accomplished the initial and at the same time the thorough author’s discursiveness as a subject in the creative process: striving to speak up about the nude by its framing and duality in the choice and usage of the technique and technological shaping medium.  

    The second component is the one connected with the female nude (as a theme as well as an occurrence) - the subject (the object) of the shaping procedure: how to escape from the usual way of presenting the nude (especially specific for the experiences and the presence in the Macedonian photographic creativity). In this component Arsovski develops certain narration revealing the one which may be even called sociological component: confronting with the personification of the presented nude- “framing of the subjectivity“. The author leads the narration in a very simple and usual way for these cultural regions. By holding the frame, the female nude (as an occurrence and presence) shows at the same time the current condition (in which the Macedonian photographer, on the pretext of the artistic value, avoids the complete exploitation of the motive) and shows the disagreement with such condition (the nude goes out, it is present also out of the “image in the frame”, in other words, striving but avoiding the usual way of presenting a nude). In the following consecutive photographs from the sequence of this photo-essay it is being shown the gradual revelation of the nudeness (as a qualitative category of the nude as by itself) and its liberation until self-awareness (as a qualitative category of the nude as for itself). In this sense, parts of this essay may be called as :” Framing of the subjectivity” (photograph 1), “Between the personal and the bodily” (photograph 2), (No)touch of the foundation/matter” (photographs 3-7), “The first step” (photograph 8), “Conquering the frame” (photograph 9),” Elevation in the detail” (photographs 10-20)and “Surrendering to the discovery” (photographs 21-23). Actually this self-awareness in the last part finds its own confirmation: here the model/female nude is shown and confirmed in its complete self-consciousness-whether it will like to stay foetus closed/hidden ((photographs 21) or if it will offer itself as lasciviously desirable” (photograph 22) or it will stay into the limits of its own self-allowed controllability (photograph 23).

    This apotheosis of the female body together with author’s infractions in the shaping procedure are actually those ones mentioned at the beginning of this text, discursiveness which doesn’t make the female nude sexual object (a subject of lust) but elevates it in the own self-respect and self-acknowledgement ( a subject of elevation). As a conclusion from the previous two analyses, it might be said that: moving between these two positions and exactly just because of that this essay may also be named as “A photo-essay for the photographer and for the model”.

    Therefore the consecutive sequence of photographs taken by Vladimir Arsovski opens one allegedly obscure or at least for the public unknown question (which at the same time becomes a conclusion): the author’s position and condition in the process of creating work of art, put between his own creative drive and contingency and at the same time the definition of meaning of the shaping motive. As such, this sequence presents one of many possible solutions retaining the freedom to speak using the rhetoric of the complex icon system of images and their significance.

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