Text and photographs by Andrés Leroi.
Actually I’m glad Fabiano asked me to write an article about my photography, as this always forces you to see your own work from an outsiders view. I could start telling you about concrete pictures I took and go into details here. But in fact I think is more interesting to talk about the central theme of the pictures I take. Though it is sometimes hard to see, there always is an idea or a feeling connecting my photographs to one big picture.
There are a lot of good books and articles about photography in general. But in fact every picture is something new and fortunately there is no book or article out there telling you how you will take your next picture.
In general there seem to be two ways of taking pictures: The first one is about trying to show what happens out there. The second one deals with showing what you already pre-visualized in your mind. You will never be able to draw a clear line between both. But most will be able to say if their pictures are more of the first way or if they belong more to the second way of taking them. I always have the picture in mind before taking it. I’m not interested in documentary pictures of things happening out there. But at the same time I call my pictures „documentary“. Let me explain that.
I´m a so called constructivist. Well I don’t completely agree with this philosophy, but in most parts I do. Every single person constructs his own reality. This doesn’t mean that there is no objective reality out there, but it means that we are not able to „see“ this reality immediately. So again, you can try to take your pictures in a documentary way, but in fact you only document what you think is happening, what you think is real. If you see things this way, there is no big difference more between taking documentary pictures and making pictures you had in mind before. And in fact, as a result, we don’t take pictures, we make them. My Pictures are a mixture of dreams and what most would call reality. Well to me they are as real as other things are, but most people still think that documentary and conceptual photography are two completely different things. So if you watch my pictures you will on some pictures be able to see the „real“ part and the „dream“ part. On other pictures its hard to see where this thin line between both parts is. But this theme is what connects all my photographs. And what most people don’t know is, that even my pseudonym works that way. Andrés Leroi is a combination of my real forename and a notional surname.
I’m not completely aware of the results before taking a picture, but I at least have a strong feeling which I’m trying to translate into a picture. Thus what i mean by „i have a picture in mind“ is a mixture of a picture and a feeling i cant name. If there is a word for what you feel, you don’t need a picture to show it. This is why every picture I take is a „word“ for a feeling you cant speak about. Of course even those pictures which are perfectly staged always contain parts you cant control and more or less there is something random in every picture. But you do can control the direction of even those random things. So now as you know how i understand photography, lets take a closer look at some of my pictures (I wont go into details about what the pictures say and contain, as they should do this without any explanation, but I will talk about how i realized what i just talked about):
Some of the pictures I selected, are quite real at what they contain. The dreamy momentum is achieved by light, colors and the moment they where taken. Which means, that they could have happened this way, but they are artificial in the way colors and light are treated. To me this is one way of accentuating, that even if the things shown on the picture where „real“, they aren’t real in the way most think about the concept of reality. The way I treat colors and light in this case, tries to make the picture somehow a canvas. Again the reason here is, that we do assume a photograph to show a real scenery, but we don’t presume a canvas to show an objective real situation. So the line between what most people think is real and what they think is not real in these two pictures is what separates the content of the pictures from the way it is shown.
Lets go ahead with others pictures that I selected: What we see here is one more way of mixing so called reality with fictional things. Color and light are a bit more real maybe, but this time the content is not. Both pictures are obviously conceptual and constructed in content, but still possible (or as i prefer to say „viable“) and not really surreal. Each tells his own story and they don’t try to hide the fact, that they where not taken rather than made.
As you see, my pictures do have separate topics, but they always deal with the border between what we think is real and what we think is not real. In the past I called my pictures „conceptual“. But actually I would call my way of making pictures „constructive photography“. Which is more about constructivism in philosophy, than what is meant by constructivism in art as done for example by Gustavs Klucis.
So even if I haven’t explained the concrete topic of every single picture, you now maybe should be able to see my work in a different way, as you now know a central theme of my work. If you want to see more of the pictures i made you can find them at www.andresleroi.com