Man / Woman Standing
A woman standing with her back to the photographer – facing the landscape. The photographer clearly behind the subject – anonymous.
The subject standing at the center of the photograph turning her back to the gaze of the viewer – an intricate exchange between nature, the urban scenery and the image maker. All the elements seems to be situated at the periphery of the woman photographed.
A woman’s stillness is a rejection of human intimacy – a way of avoiding the male gaze of the photographer and by extension the viewer. She, the subject, presents us with an incomplete, unsure narrative of what is to come. Only a partial story is revealed through cultural references that exploit our preexisting knowledge.
Babak Salari’s images are about the in-between spaces where gaze, travel, displacement and stillness reveal the optimistic and tragic capacity of our daily lives. In this series of colour photographs Salari draws the viewer into the complexities of the human gaze and the modernist allure of geometric spacial planes. The settings for the images are a mixture of tourist sites and pastoral backgrounds where an anonymous subject is set against the scale and scope of earth and nature.
Man Standing is a contemplative, poetic project that employs photography to ‘capture’ images of men in public spaces.
In these images men are standing still – often hesitant – somewhere between arrival and departure. In these moments of immobility and aimlessness, Hage captures the tragedy of existence and the often-banal ontological insecurities that mark daily life.
The ‘capturing’ of these moments fosters an intimacy between the viewer and the subject – a suspension of time that is distilled into a perfect stillness. There is no motion only what is made still and captured in the photographic act.
The images in this series generate a forced empathy towards their male subjects and their predicament. For the viewer, the visual narrative involves a process similar to one employed by a writer of fiction. We impose and imagine a narrative onto the figure in the image through our emotional projections of joy, fear and despair. Hage’s photographs remind us that in seeing we write the story about the picture based on what we choose to make within it.