Week 10. Contextualisation Jordi Ruiz Cierra 03.04.20

Week 10. Contextualisation Jordi Ruiz Cierra 03.04.20

Going back to these images and this writing now some five months later, I am heartened by all that I saw in these images at the time. I know when Laura recommended them I felt straight away that she had understood my project, and what I was trying to convey, both narratively, and visually within my images. Here is a community that are desperate to hold on to this way of life, this ‘alternative’ that to them is everyday and everything.

When I first saw these images I saw the girls body language in Fig 2 as shyness, reservation, the feeling of something that was had been ‘commited’ whilst the people in the background had not noticed (their religion dictates they are not to ‘pose’ for images).

However looking at them again now, that being my dominant reading, is overtaken by a negotiated reading.

Are the young lady and man in these images, their stances with their hands so symmetrical of each other , really reaching out their hand to grasp for help, their small acts of defiance an almost search for help? No, I do not think so. I think those hands reach out to grasp at their way of life, to keep hold of something that is fragile and dear to them, and could slip away.

Their ‘act of defiance’ isn’t in staring into the camera when their religion dictates they cannot, their act of defiance, that stare into the camera, invites us to ‘just try and take this from us’. Their hands outstretched in friendship, but also holding on to what is important to them, the direct eye contact showing an assurance, a confidence, that not many of their age would have outside of their community. They are both delicate, but sure of themselves and who they are at the same time. They have roots, a connection, they belong. Something many communities and individuals lack into todays world.

I still believe that what I wrote about the muted tones and colour pallet is a reference and connection to the land that is the centre of their world. However now, I think maybe it is also a commentary on the naturalness of this way of life, a commentary on how we are connected to the earth and need to slow down, it isn’t only Cierra’s visual tool used to show the way these families live and work, and what they treasure, but it is potentially as well, the artists agreement, or openness to the fact that this may well be a better way, a more natural way.

I am also drawn to how the male and female ‘characters’ appear to be reaching out to each other in this series. You can spin a whole narrative story in your head of the unrequited love of two young people in those gestures with their hands whilst their family and friends remain outside of their connection. That is of course totally made up in my mind, but it could be, and isn’t that just beautiful , that potential, the possibility !

 

THE FOLLOWING POST WAS WRITTEN LAST MODULE IN MY CRJ I AM REFERENCING AND INCLUDING THESE ARTIST POSTS AS BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF MY MA CONSISTING OF BEING A LONG TERM INTERLINKED PROJECT THE INFORMATION I ACCESSED IN PREVIOUS MODULES REMAINS PERTINENT AND IN CONTINUE REFERENCING BACK TO IT, REFLECTING ON MY EVOLVING AND OCCASIONALLY CONFLICTING THOUGHTS REGARDING ARTISTS AND THEIR PRACTICES. THIS HELPS TO INFORM MY OWN PROJECTS, AND KEEPS ME LOOKING AT MY OWN WORK WITH DEPTH AND NEW EYES, EACH TIME I LOOK AT IT, AS I SEE THESE ARTISTS WORKS DIFFERENTLY EACH TIME I VIEW THEM.

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BELOW THIS LINE IS NOT FOR MARKING CONSIDERATION – ORIGINAL POST 13th November 2019

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DURING MY ONE ON ONE THIS WEEK, LAURA ALSO RECOMMENDED THAT I LOOK AT THE WORK LOS MENONOS BY JORDI RUIZ CIRERA, WHO PHOTOGRAPHED A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY IN BOLIVIA FROM 2011-12, WITH AN ACCOMPANYING BOOK. THEY ARE A COMMUNITY OF FARMERS WHERE THEIR “ISOLATION AND THE LAND WAS STRONGLY RELATED TO THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD” ( SEAN, O’HAGGAN :  2014 : THE GUARDIAN : CAMERA SHY: THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY THAT SHUNS THE LIMELIGHT : HTTPS://WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM/ARTANDDESIGN/PHOTOGRAPHY-BLOG/2014/SEP/30/MENNONITES-BOLIVIA-JORDI-RUIZ-CIRERA-PHOTOGRAPHS : FIRST ACCESSED 13.11.19 )  THEY SHUN CARS AND ELECTRONICS, AND THEIR DAYS ARE FOCUSED AROUND THE LAND AND THEIR WORK, RISING WITH THE SUN, AND WORKING TILL DUSK.

Jordi Ruiz Cirera

Fig 1,Image © Jordi Ruiz Cirera from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography-blog/2014/sep/30/mennonites-bolivia-jordi-ruiz-cirera-photographs

JORDI ALSO WON THE 2012 TAYLOR WESSING PRIZE FROM ONE OF HIS PORTRAITS OF A WOMAN FROM THE COMMUNITY, A COMMUNITY WHO TRADITIONALLY , DO NOT HAVE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AS IT IS AGAINST THEIR RELIGION. IT IS EXPLAINED AS ; JORDI WAS ABLE TO TAKE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHS IF THEY WERE JUST GOING ABOUT THEIR DAILY LIVES, BUT THEY WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO POSE FOR HIM .  SOMETHING THAT I THINK, MAKES THE IMAGE ALL THE MORE CAPTIVATING AND ETHEREAL . YES THERE IS A SENSE HERE THAT THIS WOMAN IS APPREHENSIVE , SHY, BUT ALSO BRAVE AND FEARLESS TO OF LOOKED DIRECTLY INTO THAT CAMERA. I ALSO LOVE THE COLOURS AND TONES IN THIS IMAGE, THEY REMIND YOU OF THE EARTH THAT IS SO IMPORTANT AND INTRINSICALLY TO THIS COMMUNITIES LIVES & RELIGION.

 

 
http://jordiruizphotography.com/work/los-menonos/ Jordi Ruiz Cirera  Los Menonos
Fig 2, Image © Jordi Ruiz Cirera from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography-blog/2014/sep/30/mennonites-bolivia-jordi-ruiz-cirera-photographs
This image of three children at play , is truly captivating for me as it is the kind of set up that I have been photographing at some of the homes of the families I have been visiting. Children all just hanging out together, playing, living , enjoying life in between everything else that happens in a normal day. It is the beauty of the mundane and the nothing, the things that seem so small, but are the everyday occurrences that make life so breathtakingly stunning. 
Los mononos
 
I found this write up on the book on Jordi’s website, and this section, is EVERYTHING
“Los Menonos is a portrait of a community of self-styled, self-willed outsiders that have voyaged out into the wilderness of a foreign land to escape that which may yet prove to be inescapable: the inexorable encroachment of global capitalism and its implicit disdain for those that do not partake of its market-driven values. ” Jordi Ruiz Cirera : Books & Tearsheets. Los Menonons : http://jordiruizphotography.com/book/los-menonos/ First accessed 13.11.19 
AGAIN ….
“to escape that which may yet prove to be inescapable: the inexorable encroachment of global capitalism and its implicit disdain for those that do not partake of its market-driven values.” 
It’s just absolutely perfect , and it resonates with my project so much. These families who I photograph for my project, they may not be religious ,  I hardly know of many who are, and even less where their religion plays a part in their decision to home educate, but this want, of trying to escape something that I think, as a society, we feel in our bones, something is wrong, and the disdain towards those who do try to escape it, is very very strong sometimes.  
Jordi has managed to do something with these images in a beautiful way ; he has captured a philosophy, a way of life, and that is what I am trying to do. Now I need to look more closely at his work, and ask, HOW has he done that. YES with colour, tone, connection, and symbolism, but I need to be able to pick out exacts and precise feelings I think, to help better inform my own work. If nothing else, hw incredibly interesting ! It’s strange to think that 6 months ago I would never of looked at these images like this, I would of just thought wow those are pretty, and I do still think this, the one of the woman at the kitchen table, and the men on the corn are stunning, aesthetically beautiful images , but it goes much further than that, much deeper, that without this background knowledge I would never of been able to understand.
Which brings me in week 8 to another dilemma ; How do I as a lover of literature, but most definitely no Shakespeare , write for this project in a way that will capture people attention?
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography-blog/2014/sep/30/mennonites-bolivia-jordi-ruiz-cirera-photographs
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/9657760/Spanish-photographer-wins-the-Taylor-Wessing-Portrait-Prize.html
http://jordiruizphotography.com/book/los-menonos/
First accessed 13.11.2019 

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Jordi Ruiz Cirera. Los Menonos.  Available at ;  http://jordiruizphotography.com/book/los-menonos/ (Accessed 03.04.20)

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