Photographic records of experiments with light and dark are guaranteed to make for an intriguing exhibition. “Sight is Light”, hosted by ECLA, took place on February 4, in the Lecture Hall at Platanenstrasse 98. The photos were taken by Ioana Muntenescu, a former student of ECLA.
The title was inspired by Ioana’s interest in sight and its impact on the representation of figures, either in paintings or in photos. She wrote on the subject in her thesis paper before graduating from the University of Bucharest and it was also a part of her research during the project year at ECLA.
A good photo depends on many things, some of which are the use of contrasting elements; of catching the right moment, the right ray of light, and the right shadow. It also depends on the ability to discern the spot from which the reflection of the inner image in the photographer’s eye is best transferred onto paper. The photographs shown were chosen from a collection made over the course of three years. They had been taken in Bucharest, Berlin, Prague and Rome. Although urban life was the main theme, the photos depicted a more peaceful and tranquil side of it. Some of them made a connection between the urban and nature, but never abandoned the original idea; moulding nature in the context of the city. A fallen leaf on the sidewalk, a river flowing through the city, even a garden in the heart of the modern concrete fortress—nature was given a mellow, somewhat melancholy touch.
Shadows played an important part in the exhibition. Sometimes the objects that cast them were missing and the dark shade on a wall, on the ground, or on a sheet was the only evidence of both the presence and absence of certain objects “outside” the photo. Another recurring image was flowers on a window-sill. There were black-and-white photos, but also photos that were rich in striking colours, which added to the impact they left on the viewer. One group of photos gave a playful note on architecture, choosing different angles of positioning the camera. Thus, it seemed almost possible that the roofs of houses could be sewn like patches or that a house could hover in the air.
The exhibition gave the viewer a singular perspective on surroundings usually perceived as common and monotonous. It provoked discussion of the beauty that a city can show, even on a cold, grey winter afternoon. The selected photos told a story of urban aesthetic explorers, who are always looking for the perfect place and moment to capture an image.
Ioana Muntenescu is a freelance cultural journalist, photographer and event creator. She studied journalism and communication, PR and advertising and received her Masters degree in theory and practice of images from the Bucharest University of Architecture and Urbanism. She was an AY and PY student in ECLA from 2003 to 2005, dedicating her project year to Francesco Guardi’s vedutas and ways of looking at the Venetian city.