on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Liquid photography

the slow photography philosophy

Rafael Rojas

Rafael Rojas (Master Hasselblad 2014, MA Photography, ARPS), is a Swiss and Spanish full-time artist photographer, lecturer, author, and creativity mentor. He has been involved in teaching most of his life, first helping young students, then teaching undergrads, and later as a university lecturer.

Nowadays, his teaching activities focus on helping photographers see the world with different eyes and use photography as a tool of personal and creative expression.

After seven years of work, the MasterCOURSE “Photography with Intent”, an intensive mentoring program for Expressive Photographers, has become the apex of his teaching career and his utmost contribution to the Community of Photographers.


Rafael Rojas - Liquid Photography 2

I recently read an essay by Luciano Concheiro, called "Contra el Tiempo" (Against time), where he mentions something we all know, but that needs to be put under the limelight from time to time:

If I were forced to identify one feature that defines the age, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second: I would choose ‘acceleration’. That is the phenomenon that largely governs how economics, politics, social relationships, our bodies and minds now work. The increase in speed is the prism through which, without relying on reductionist perspectives, we can see —and maybe understand– better the world in which we live in today.

This text reminded me of the theories developed by the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, and particularly about his concept of "liquid modernity", that he coined to define the new constant and incessant changes taking place nowadays in the major foundations of society, traditions, economy and politics. What he saw as the major trait of our modern times (or post-modernity) was the quick, incessant and accelerating change taking place all around, that demolished, without proposing solid alternatives, the pillars that for centuries had helped us create a sense of order and the moral, intellectual and spiritual foundations on which to build our own identity. With the quick dissolution of long established solid values into a shapeless bubbling soup, "constructing a durable identity that coheres over time and space becomes increasingly impossible". According to Bauman, "we have moved from a period where we understood ourselves as “pilgrims” in search of deeper meaning to one where we act as “tourists” in search of multiple but fleeting social experiences".

I could not avoid making a direct connection with landscape photography when reading this last sentence, particularly when tourism nowadays frequently translates into the realization of a series of selfies in a number of prescribed locations and their distribution in so-called "social" channels. Indeed, when it comes to photography, this same fast paced culture of immediacy, speed and acceleration have also shaped not only the way we photograph but also the way we consume photography and the motivations and aspirations we have of the medium when we embrace it. In a way, the liquid modernity seems to also have attained photography, making it as liquid as a bath of Rodinal, and this, at different levels. 

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