Alex Levac – “Our Country”

Posted in Photoblog, Photography by Rollfilm on January 20, 2007

“The culture of this country is so extraverted, the street is so open, communicative, and laden with social symbols – and yet there are almost no photographers who simply walk about ahd photograph daily life. All of them want to photograph history, the world leaders, the stars and the fireworks. Street photography and documentary photography have long since become unfashionable. “Your work is passé,” I was told a few years ago by a young photography curator in an important museum. “People don’t take pictures that way any more,” she said. I tought to myself that as long as human beings aren’t passé, then direct, conventional classical street photography is still valid.

In my view, the direct photography of reality conveys a basic statement that cannot be disagreed with: the perpetuation of the passing moment, documenting what exists before it passes from the world. From this starting point, the photographer is invited to go out into the street and photograph what his eyes see. The theater of the street performs for us twenty-four hours a day. The photographer must decipher it and freeze small parts of it according to his own considerations, return to the darkroom, develop the film, and print pictures in a process of reconstructing reality. Indeed, he creates his world anew as he chooses, combining picture with picture to put together a vast picture of reality as seen through the photographer’s eyes.

I don’t take a lot of pictures. I see things as though through a sieve. The choice of a specific moment is mine. I enjoy photography. It forces me to look at marginal things as well. There are wonderful situations where the photographic potential is enormous, and pictures truly leap to the eye, but most pictures are obtained by hard and patient work. I would like all my pictures to be great, full of historical, social, and anthropological meaning, but very few reach that level. Many times the result is simply anecdotal, visual amusements, the justaposition of bits of reality that usually are not connected to one another. Some are complex, others are simple, but they always tell something about us.

Documentary photography has another virtue: it expresses the individual viewpoint of the photographer. Setting up a camera on a street corner to photograph whatever passes by every five seconds at random is not enough. Something has to come from the photographer’s soul, his brain, his personality, his private image of the world. No two photographers will see the same event in the same way. This exhibition, too, reflects my own private angle of vision.”

Alex Levac

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