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Photographer Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodóvar, Photographer of Flowers


Perhaps the filmmaker’s least well-known facet, his side-project is an exercise in health and freedom.

No person is but one thing, but a network of tastes and projections. This becomes especially clear when a film director who’s made more than 20 movies and won a myriad of awards for it becomes also a still-life photographer. An exercise in exploration and diversification, it’s seen as a relief to use the full range of one’s potentialities, the many layers making up a person and the infinite ways of using time and inspiration. At least, it’s thus for Pedro Almodóvar.

The Spanish director recently opened an exhibition of photographs titled Waiting for the Light at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. Color and an evident pop taste inundate the works: portraits of vases, flasks, and bottles with almost dead flowers against backgrounds of color. Like his movies, the photographs vibrate with an unmistakable Almodovarian aesthetic, one which is here, not incarnated in scenes of melodrama nor in picturesque characters, but in simple still-life.

The exhibition title comes from a principle which seems of capital importance to the artist (in his films, in his photographs, and perhaps in life too): the wait for that moment when the light precisely illuminates what one hopes to capture. This is no surprise when we recall that Almodóvar is always involved in the art direction of his movies. In this collection of images, one can perceive his love for interiors and decoration.

The titles of many of the photographs are inspired by painters like Velázquez and the Italian Giorgio Morandi (his still-lifes are intimately played with in Almodóvar’s photos). In each, one can also find the strong influence of Maruja Mallo’s surrealist aesthetics, a favorite of Almodóvar. Her creations can also be counted among the visual references in the new film, Pain and Glory.

In an interview with Artnet, Almodóvar described himself as a “multiply frustrated artist.” His many truncated professions have found release with this foray into the world of photography. In an almost intuitive way, the half-dying flowers of his photos correspond to the characters he’s portrayed in his films. And this might remind us that, despite its many virtues, specialization always implies knowing more and more —about less. The chance to diversify at whatever profession we’re involved in, whether we’ve chosen that profession or not, can become a radical and indispensable adventure.

Imagen: T Wei – flickr

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