Abstract Body
MIGUEL RIBEIRO, 2010, MAY

This is a group of photographs of my body taken between the years 2001 and 2008, the period I was involved with this subject. I bought my first camera in 1978, and from the very beginning would occasionally incorporate a hand or other body part in photos of landscapes.


Yet it was only in 1985, while living in South Africa (1980-91), that I first used my body as the central subject of photographs in a systematic way. The appeal of this theme, however, lasted no longer than eight or nine months, overshadowed by passion at the time for medical photography.

In December 2000, again in South Africa for New Year's eve in Cape Town, my interest in self-portraiture was revived, now lastingly and as the central theme in my photography. Until mid-2003 the selected body area was typically photographed in interaction with objects or landscapes. Thereafter I returned to the neutral backgrounds of 1985, and came closer to the more intimate spirit of that period. In general I sought to isolate a body part, strip it of its bodily identity, and make it function as an autonomous subject to be explored, in a more or less abstract way, as an object with a texture or with sculptural potential.

The first photographic series date from mid-2004. In late 2005 and throughout 2006 I strived to assemble photographs into composite pictures with a dual reading, of the whole and of the individual images. In 2007 I began converting images from analogue to digital, and, taking advantage of the temporal conception of the series, I started sequencing the photographs into short films with music. Such medium proved to be the most adequate vehicle for some of my series, while ideally conveying the obsessive nature of the work.

The body, given its formidable expressive power and unending versatility, is an inexhaustible and deeply engaging subject. And when we use our own body, it is capable of responding instantaneously and with minute accuracy to the ever-changing action/reaction that modulates the flow of conception, without the losses in transmission inherent in the use of a model. 

© 2019 Miguel Ribeiro. Created by Castelero Design.

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