“Open-Mouthed” by Cristina García Rodero

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An open human mouth by Spanish photographer Cristina García Rodero is a common thread running through and binding together her b & w photographs put on display at the National Gallery, Sofia, being the emotion, the state of mind, the situation in which the human beings have found themselves. Such exhibitions of pictures that are coverage and street photography in their purest form seem to be a rare occurrence recently in Bulgaria. Many of Cristina García Rodero’s photographs on display date back to the 1990s, when technologies have not yet made a U-turn towards processing and editing. Her uncompromising training in photographic film shows through along with her flair for the situation, the object and the dramatically significant in what is happening. I believe that professionals will clearly discern both the selection of shots and the will for presenting a captured unique moment. Most of the works reveal uncluttered eloquence of a record though missing some explanations to shed light on the context of some of the pictures. They exude the spellbinding power of documentary photography, which we are increasingly missing these days. Digital technology seems to entice photographers progressively more into ‘forcing’ the shot in an attempt to draw non-existent connections and emotions, which look at the same time prosaically routine and pretentiously charged by their authors. It is the documentary authenticity of a shot that makes our eyes riveted on it on the verge of being scarcely able to believe our eyes, realising though that this is all real. Many of the photos were taken at festivals and rituals, capturing certain states of mind of the public and responses of individuals. Here is what she herself said: I want to speak about the human being, the dualities and contradictions of life, the old traditions and the new rituals, the natural and the supernatural, religious and pagan, pain and pleasure, humans and gods, spirit and body, water and earth, life and death.’[1]

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Given that she is the sole Spanish member of Magnum Photos (http://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL53Z0AE), everything above makes even more sense and gives more clarity as to her approach and attitude towards coverage and work as a whole. Magnum Photos website offers many of her projects at http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/between-heaven-and-earth. The show in Sofia provides also a documentary video for the visitors by Cristina García Rodero herself telling about her motivation and attitude towards photography. Open-Mouthed runs until 23 July.

[1] http://inmotion.magnumphotos.com/essay/between-heaven-and-earth

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“Open-Mouthed” by Cristina García Rodero

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