The sample ¨Para los niños se hace esta fiesta¨ (This party is for children), by renowned photographer Pedro Abascal will open on Monday at the same time that the International Forum of Latin American Child Audiovisual Universe, at the Hispanic American Cultural Center.
Twenty snapshots of various formats, stages and techniques of infants surprised by the lens are included in the selection. These children, who already lived in the extensive work of the artist, join today called by the Latin American audiovisual party of which they are also inseparable part.
Abascal no longer remembers what his first picture was since, in the eighties, he first pressed the shutter of his camera. This photographer captures stories between lights and shadows in the same way that pursues the human being in its context. He has captured the essence of the cityscape and its inhabitants. He strives to reflect scenes and everyday simple objects becoming them into art. In his work we find much cinematic influence, being essential the use of transparencies, the elliptical look where is evident his great power of synthesis and ability when capturing detail and contrast. His accomplished frames, suitable topics, the sculptural treatment of light, and the apparent visual strength of his pieces, make this creator an indispensable one in Cuban contemporary photographic sector.
This artist of the lens has worked as still picture photographer in some ICAIC productions as ¨El Benny¨ by Jorge Luis Sánchez, among others. These photos, featuring children, show that they are the party themselves, surprised from analog and digital lenses, they do not pose or freeze their glances and smiles, are simply spontaneous. Sometimes Abascal´s photos are worrying, thoughtful and disturbing, in others the poetic tone prevails without losing the sense of direct message, his peculiar way of seeing life and the uplifting treatment of human beings in their dissimilar edges.
The contrasting black and white or the more exotic blend of colors of these images highlight the authentic expressions of these children without names, who stand out by the uniqueness of ordinary people, of which the everyday is also nourished and the story built; they may not e ver realize they were immortalized thanks to the magic of the eighth art. Any conversation with Abascal inevitably mutates in a photography master class, he starts talking about any topic and always returns, again and again, to recall the snares of his craft, but he also talked to On Cuba about the importance the cinema has had on his work in the framework of this recent exhibition within the 35th Havana Film Festival.
How did the idea for this exhibition emerge?
The exhibition comes from an idea of Pablo Ramos, recently deceased and former director of the International Forum of Latin American Child Audiovisual Universe, who, through Dominica Ojeda, summoned me to make a sample on this topic. Then I decide to assemble a collection of images and essays from different periods where I expose from my perspective the presence of children and they liked the proposal and then this exhibition project was born.
What did initially attract you from photography?
It was the image of Chaplin and the little boy leaning on the wall of 1921, and the second one was the Heroic Guerrilla, by Korda. The other thing that captivated me, and still does it, is my absolute fascination by the camera, the lens, the film advance, looking through the viewfinder, the intrinsic magic of machinery. The first time I took a camera in my hands I felt something supremely sensual. It was a somewhat ambiguous seduction, complicated and difficult to describe. I guess that it has a lot of feelings that are hidden between the soul and light.
Beyond the preference for the human figure and the elliptical look, what other themes return again and again to your work?
Undoubtedly this recurrent theme is life. Discovering the man in the act of living, what it creates, or does everyday. I’ve said before I address the human being in its banal questions, where leaves deep traces of its existence. Apart from the man, several characters, signs and symbols accompany me like mannequins, reflections, stained glass and anything susceptible to be shot and that inspires me to capture it.
What is a good picture for you?
The one that moves you even when you are unable to explain it, because an image has many readings as viewers see it. When an image touches you for good or bad, without being grotesque, then you are in the presence of one of the good ones.