Berto Macei e José Romay
September 26th to 31st October
Encontros da Imagem is geographically involved in a region, which is considered to have the youngest population in Europe and is close to Galicia, a fact that offers a great potential in terms of a wider audience, along with all its consequent advantages. Due to that proximity, it must be noted the partnership with the Festival “Outono Fotográfico”, a Galician photography festival happening in Orense, which allows an itinerancy and circulation of exhibitions between both cities, thereby representing a major benefit for the audience.
As a result from this partnership, we present Berto Macei and José Romay’s projects, both winners of the 2nd Edition of the Galician Contemporary Photography Award.
Macei builds what reminds us of the frames from the classic period of Film Noir, freeing himself from the complex in which it is assumed to repeat a practise born right after the Great Depression of 1929 and used since the 40s. The terminology that involves the images he presents is clear, as well as each resource used in the visual language, or each element he photographs, or even the solitude he evokes in the viewer, which faithfully reminds styles and technics from directors such as John Huston, Robert Siodmak or Charles Laughton. In this photographic series, the author clearly understands what has been said by James Monaco in American Film Noir, referring that Film Noir is not a genre per se, but more of a visual style. Therefore, in his photos we can easily observe an aesthetic highly influenced by the German expressionism, not only by the use of the light or its absence, but also by the point of view.
The neo-documentalism also takes possession of the classical language present in this genre in order to manipulate it, the same way it does with Romay’s american contemporaries, as we can observe in this work. The author explores the boundaries between rural and urban, the built and the natural. He develops an analysis very different from the others that have been made about the common space n Spain. Jose Romay presents in Rururbania Salnés a hostile territory where the existing borderline between shades of green and grey fades giving way to orange, approaching the humanised and the uncivilised, and mixing the industrial with the habitable. The same way Robert Adams or Stephen Shore did for the book New Topographics in North America, in the 70s, here Romay portrays a real Salnés in search for that supposed landscape comparison that he frequently saw on the territory. The images from Rururbania excel with a bright Californian light, ironically contrasting with the unfortunate silver blue absorbed by the most touristic place in Spain.