The graffiti art becomes permanent through contemporary photography. Saray Calcedo interviewed.

Graffiti of different cities captured by the unerring eye of modern photography of Saray Calcedo

Saray Calcedo photographyShe was born in the Habana, she studied in London and she now lives in Madrid.  For Saray Calcado it is not difficult to take her camera and capture the most special corners of the world, the ones which the eye at times does not see.

She assures us that graffiti is fashionable.  And she has decided through her photography to show us this form of urban art, which hides more secrets than we often realise.

Your most recent work “Impermanence” offers a spotlight on urban deterioration and regeneration.  You explore the relationship between graffiti and architecture.  Is the relationship a complicated one?

Graffiti because of its characteristics is ephemeral, as such we can say that it is in constant deconstruction and reconstruction.  Architecture on the other hand tends to deteriorate and what eventually happens is that we find most graffiti in those places which have deteriorated.  This in its way also fascinates me: how some good pieces of graffiti can change the soul of a place.  A lifeless building can end up being interesting if the graffitists are true artists, if on the other hand you change the graffiti the action seems nothing more than vandalism with the sole intention of annoying.

“A consciously spontaneous act” with which you intend to capture a moment in time.  This is how you define it.  Is it difficult to capture this precise moment?

Yes and no.  Yes because this moment in time refers to the ephemeral nature of graffiti, what usually happens is that it is continually changing and what´s more I don’t photograph just any piece of graffiti on a wall, my intention is to show the interaction between this form of art and the surroundings.  It is not difficult however as graffiti is on the increase, if you know where to look and what you are looking for, it is almost certain that you will end up seeing something interesting.

You use, as a technique, photography printed on metal.  Why metal?

People always ask me this and I explain that it feel to me more urban than other mediums and also what was originally metal, in the moment when the photo was taken, stays metal because the printer does not substitute it for a colour imitating it, as is the case, for example, with prints on paper.

“We shouldn’t constantly intellectualize what we as artists do, if we do we lose much of its freshness”

You form this series passing through different countries, from London to Madrid…

The aim of the series is to document the graffiti that I find in the cities I visit and show how fusion between the graffiti and the cities is growing.  If once upon a time it was practically banned, nowadays it’s fashionable.

You have exhibited in Spain for the first time with “Doce/doce/doce” (“Twelve/twelve/twelve”). What was the experience like?

Interesting. I have learnt how art moves here, and I know that in Madrid at least there is a great deal of movement in this area. There is a large public, open to new issues, interested in visiting exhibitions. My exhibition was well received.

What do you offer us in Plastiké?

Watch Modern Art Exhibitions - Art Gallery Plastike - Saray CalcedoI offer exactly that selection of photographs of graffiti.  Some of the photos formed a part of that first exhibition in Madrid which you mentioned and I have added others that I believe will work well here.  The collection includes photos from London, The Habana, Copenhagen, Fez and Madrid.

Do you believe art should align itself with new technologies such as on line galleries?

Without a doubt. What doesn’t use the Internet now?

Through photography it is possible to express almost everything… Is there always a motive behind each of your photographs?

There is always a motive. Perhaps I go out to take photos as personal therapy, to “disconnect”, or perhaps I am looking for something more concrete relating to a theme. But we shouldn’t constantly intellectualize what we as artists do, if we do we lose the freshness of that spontaneous moment which we talked about at the outset.

We are in a moment of grave crisis. Is it possible by way of art and in this case specifically photography to play a part in ending this crisis?

I don’t believe any form of art helps directly in getting out of this economic crisis, but I do believe that education in art appreciation can help to put people’s minds on the right path, to the positive benefit of society. Something that is always positive when facing adverse economic situations.

Saray Calcedo :: Exposición Fotografía :: London 4

What are your next projects?

I am going to Australia and New Zealand to continue developing this theme and in June I will present my second exhibition in Madrid, something I am already working on. I am pleased because it is an ideal moment in Madrid, as it coincides with the Festival PhotoEspaña, which draws the attention of a large public interested in photography.

Is it complicated working so far away from your country and your loved ones…?

If I lived in Cuba I couldn’t do what I do, it would be almost impossible to travel the world as I do from Europe and unfortunately there does not even exist a professional laboratory. On a personal level, we always miss those who we love, but I sometimes call this feeling my “muse”, and I try also to find inspiration in that feeling.



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