Paisagens Interiores

In looking at nature, we are faced with something external to our inner world, but for some inexplicable reason, this act almost always helps us rethink our own emotions. It seems that it reflects, as an involuntary mirror, our soul. Therefore, the contemplation of nature helps us to achieve tranquility and has always been an instrument of spiritual search.

The photographer who decides to portray natural landscapes faces a great challenge: getting out of the clichés and presenting us with a new way of seeing something common, to find, too, those feelings that only real experiences provoke within us. Moreover, for a work of art to surprise us conceptually, it is very important that it not only awakens recognizable visual and cultural experiences, but also presents an original quest in building a photographic language.

The work of Emma Livingston, a British photographer based in Argentina, brings together several of these characteristics, not only transmitting the sensations of her inner experience in a poetic and delicate way, but also operating successfully within the reach of contemporary visual and artistic research. The creative process that leads to the final result is very important in understanding the photographs that make up this selection.

Livingston's artistic intentions fall within the landscape photography experience of the past 40 years and are, in the case of the NOA (Northwest Argentine) series, strongly reminiscent of work by North American photographer Richard Misrach. These images, taken in that region, are an insightful investigation into this territory and represent a novelty in the panorama of South American photography.

Her work also presents a search for archetypes that undoubtedly remind one of the photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher of the Düsseldorf school. But what makes these images a novelty in the panorama of contemporary photography is the idea of eplacing the Becher's industrial remains with nature which, in the case of TREE PORTRAITS, struggles in the urbanized world to maintain its identity and space needed to survive. This form of photography, which is nothing more than cataloging by means of images, is called photographic typology, that is, typological photography: a series of photographs of the same subject always taken in a similar way and that acquire meaning when they are shown together .

Livingston's work brings together characteristics and references of contemporary artistic photography, permeated by personal poetic meanings: the photographer's eye acts as a lens through which we observe nature in a new way.


Claudia Buzzetti

August 2010