Sunday, February 24, 2013

Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, Heads

Phillip-Lorca diCorcia

DiCorcia is an american photographer with a master in fine arts from Yale University, where he now act as a teacher.
Doing his early career, in the 1970s, diCorcia would stage his friends and family members in a domesticity/ interior tableaux so that the viewer would believe that the pictures were spontaneous shots of someones everyday life. But they would in fact be carefully planned beforehand.

                                                       Mario, 1978

He would later start taking photos of random people in the urban space – Berlin, Rome, Tokyo, New York. He would hide lights in the pavement which would illuminate pedestrians and isolates them from the other people in the street.
Since the 1990s diCorcia has redefined traditional street photography, such as Walker Evans´s subway pictures. When he began photographing strangers caught in a strobe light he turned pedestrians into unsuspected performers. The strobe highlights the pedestrians like actors being isolated on stage by a spotlight, focusing on their gestures and letting everything els fade.
Even if the pedestrians seem detached from their surroundings, diCorcia uses the City as the title for the photos, placing the pedestrians back in to the city’s anonymity.

                                                       New York, 1997

To create the Heads series, diCorcia fixed a powerful strobe light to a scaffold high above the streets in New York´s Time Square. He activated the strobe by radio signal and captured unknowing pedestrains in a flash light from over 6 meters away. The strobe could not be sensed by his subject since the photographs were taken in broad daylight. Using this technique, the figures appear to emerge from inky darkness, spotlighted and as if there was almost no distance between the camera and the subject.

                                                        Head # 10, 2001

The images are simple and intimate which is ironic since the pictures are taken for a fare distance. But the distance allows diCorcia to zoom in close to the pedestrians faces with out them knowing that they are being photographed and thereby enhancing the intimacy. It gives a sense of drama from the accidental poses and instant facial expressions.

                                                       Head #23, 2001

The cinematic quality is preserved by the big poster-size print; 120 x 150 cm, high resolution digital scans. Over the course of two years diCorcia took more than 4000 of these photographs, but only those 17 for the series.
The strobe gives us an unusual light that stops time and inclines us to look at what we see every day but fail to notice, and the longer we look the more extraordinary they become.
Unaware of the camera they act like most people would, walking down the street in a crowd, focused on something or nothing. But when they become enlarged and isolated their expression becomes a riddle, intense and melodramatic.

                                                       Head 22, 2001

DiCorcias´s Heads series was center of debate between free speech and individual rights to privacy in 2006. One of diCorcia´s subjects sued the artist and the gallery for exhibiting, publishing and profiting from his picture which was take with out permission. DiCorcia explained that he did not seek consent because the images could not have been made with the knowledge and cooperation of the subjects.
The case was dismissed because of the freedom to photograph in public is protected in the u.s.

                                                       Head #13

Link Phillip-Lorca diCorcia exposed;

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