Ricardo Oliveira Alves, House in Corales II, 2015. Architect: Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos.

Photo: Ricardo Oliveira Alves

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

Time Space Existence - Biennale Architettura 2016

It is not enough to pass through time and space; somewhere we should leave a trace of our existence.
Photography is one of the tools we have to catch the very moment extending time because we can look at the photograph whenever we want and get back to the instant it was shot. This is what makes photography apparently so immediate and easy: you see something, you capture the moment, and you can share it with others. Sharing, the buzzword of our times dominated by internet and social media. What about the silent contemplation of space and the pure joy to exist and to live the very moment, the magic “of being alone in an architectural space”? The secret is actually not just finding the right observation point but getting acquainted to the space itself. This means there are some key elements when creating a unique image going far beyond simple geometry or “the ten rules to make a great pic”.
Often there is no project behind the overwhelming quantity of images we encounter every day, no ethics, but this will not even be noticed due to lacking visual literacy or attitude in understanding images, going beyond their eye-catching surface.
This might be fine for a lot of people. For me it is not. Perhaps it depends on the way I approached photography. A matter of time... I took my first pictures when I was 14 years old, driven by the example of my father who made his “amateur” photography film projections during weekends.
Later I started studying architecture. You may say that I learned about space during my studies at the university. The true comprehension of space actually was more due to my practical experiences in a Lisbon architectural studio. Learning by doing is very useful especially when you can touch by hand the effects good or bad planning has on space, on how we perceive and live it, with a direct influence on our existence. A well-known and often quoted fact still too little people seem to care about.
Then there is the light, the creative element both in photography and in architecture. It has been years I have explored the tight relationship between light, time and space in my Archilapse work. The concept is to capture the light moving through space, giving us the dimension of time, the sense of its flow. For the Archilapse you have to anticipate time and be very precise while shooting since there is only one possibility to catch the light in the instant. If you miss it, that particular time in the space will be lost.
So we come to the very point where Time – Space – Existence merge in an overall experience thanks to those aspects you cannot recreate artificially if you do not have this special relation, if you do not catch the vibrations I look for, perhaps because I'm also a musician. Let us call it empathy, or more precisely “cognitive empathy”, even referred to as “perspective taking” (a term I like very much as it relates to photography). As an architectural photographer I need the ability to identify and understand the space like people's emotions because it is me who is the mediator between the architect, their project, and the public.
The pictures I am exhibiting here in Venice are a reflection, an essay about contemplation of light (time) in space, printed on Alucobond, a timeless support for a little frame on our existence inscribed in space.

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  • Title: Ricardo Oliveira Alves, House in Corales II, 2015. Architect: Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos.
  • Creator: Photo: Ricardo Oliveira Alves