of Anna Oswaldo Cruz
By Ignacio Vidal Folch
When Anna Oswaldo Cruz
arrived in Barcelona, she decided to portray the writers of this city
and, as one can see from the excellent work that she currently exhibits
at the FNAC, she succeeded in this in a black-and-white, equally stylized
as funerary: "Nothing improves mankind as much as death".
I presume, that the choice of this guild comes from a certain sympathy
or literary preference of the artist, for we know that there is nothing
very peculiar or striking about the faces of people who write, except
perhaps that of Beckett, which is nevertheless not unusual in his country
of origin. I do not even believe that anyone's face can be a faithful
mirror of his soul, as little as anyone will be responsible at a certain
age for his looks, as a well-known refrain and an aphorism would have
it. People's faces are but a playground of expression and their morphological
variability, unnecessarily infinite, another proof of nature's bounty.
For the artist-photographer it is the themes or models that matter for
the creation of an atmosphere, elegant, intimate, sometimes dramatic,
charged with a constrained tension, free of ornamental elements: the atmosphere
of Oswaldo Cruz.
My face is one of the agents selected by her for this construction, and
it amuses me that she has endowed it with what would go for a “rich
inner life”, even if only a borrowed life, the “borrowed face”,
as Paolo Conte sings, and that she exhibits it in the company of these
refined deceptive images of the authors of books that I have read and
enjoyed … What else to say, if one is among them? If the portrait
is not one of the entire body –if it isolates the face from the
less expressive, more useful parts, those that will link it more to this
world– then there is by definition something melancholic and disquieting
in it, even if its multiplication, thanks to Canon and the likes, makes
all of this appear trivial.
Therefore a writer, today among the classics, to whom a photographic image
of reality did not appear as trivial yet, was surprised to learn in the
year 1927 that his “shadow” had been captured on a photograph
of an unknown family: “My likeness among strangers / one of my august
days / my shade they never noticed / my shade they stole in vain”.
By Radamés Molina
In these pictures the models
pose upright, in almost all of them on the same chair against a gray background,
framed within a rectangle. Sometimes they are slightly forward bent, casting
a haughty glance. In general, these faces are attractive or possess at
least a certain depth of expression. Seen in this way, these photographs
do not appear to question the idea that we all have of a classical portrait;
it could also be said that they were made with care (although the models
have rejected their portraits in some cases, not finding them attractive
One must add here that all or almost all persons appearing on these fotos
are writers endowed with strong temperaments, who would usually wish to
bring the intensity of their “thoughts” or the voluptuousness
of their “passionate lives” to the surface of their faces;
hence the occasionally marked gesture.
But here the pictures cut a head precisely at the height of the forehead
or the image is closed asymmetrically, and in this way record different
regions of intensity of the models: the hedonistic smile remains on one
side of the image, the rictus of pain appears in the center of the composition,
other detail gaining no importance. These are “close-ups”
that are paradoxically surrounded by an environment from which the dimensions
and the presence of 'the rest' are not excluded.
A last detail: It appears as if these pictures were created one second
before or one second after the posing of the model; always before or after
it would present itself with complacency, just about when an unexpected
trait of the portrayed person comes to the surface.