“Portraits of Absence” are printed portraits using manual and analogic techniques, which involve a physical process.
Contrary to the rudimentary nature of the printing techniques employed, portraits where generated from photographs taken during video conversations with people closely related, but spatially distant, using digital communication technologies, such as WhatsApp, Facetime or Skype software.
The advances of digital technology and its increasing use in day-to-day life have provoked intense transformations. However, they do not replace or eliminate the use and interest in practices of manual techniques that human beings have been using since the beginning of history. Everything has a proper role and occasion.
The portraits aim to poetically subvert the limitations of space and time. An image – that is typically used to witness the presence, and hence, the direct contact of the portrayed situation with subject who snapped the photo – today can be generated from a distance. However, the spatial gap between them constitutes an area susceptible to interference and noise, generating distortions in information. As a metaphor, those distortions are incorporated through the inaccuracy of the print techniques.
The whole point of this procedure is to obtain an alchemy. As if the physicality of the printing process and the materiality of the resulting eroded images could offer a form of physical presence of those distant people in dialogue at the moment the photos were taken.
In the "Dialogues by WhatsApp" series of portraits, screenshots with the phone's camera are made using WhatsApp software. Outdoor cyanotype prints are made from them.
In the "Dialogues by Skype" series, people connected via Skype and photographed with a digital camera are gathered to form a gallery of these "Portraits of Absences". The images were computer manipulated, photocopied and transferred onto plates of copper to generate a portrait. All residues produced during the transfer and printing processes were digitally incorporated.
Dialogues by WhatsApp
Dialogues by Skype