segunda-feira, 5 de novembro de 2018

Photography and Post-Photography


A) Diagnosis

The Great Paradox: Photography is currently the most visually striking visual art (exhibitions, books, museums, media, etc.) and, at the same time, faces one of the greatest challenges ever - as we know it today.

1 - The Digital Age:
"But why not just kill the photo, there and then? Because she might want to look at it again. Because it meant something to her. Something? A great deal? Everything? "- Penepole Lively

Photography is the most important visual art in this new century.
The digital revolution allowed a broad expansion of photographic foundations, which fit almost every possibility. In the wake of an uncontrollable flow of images that monopolizes our daily lives without establishing borders - at the beginning of the 21st century humanity has changed and photography is the Word.
There has been a renewed interest in Street Photography over the past 15 years, which is perhaps the largest global movement to come in nearly 200 years of the History of Photography.
The world became flat again but through the screens of smartphones, computers, tablets, iPads, televisions, etc.
Our sense of reality and time is another. For good and evil.
On the other hand as all people can have photographic voice - with or without smartphones it poses a big question: what does each one have to say through the images?
Two billion photos and videos are published daily on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms. And a large percentage is low quality photography. Of course most people have no pretensions or ambition to make great photographs. Copying almost always the same clichés use photographs as a means of communication, a game, an act of friendship, love, etc. It is not by chance that the word of the year, in 2013, for the Oxford Dictionary was: "Selfie." But, in parallel, there also proliferates an elite of mediocrity professionals - based only on thousands of likes and tastes of algorithmic decisions.
There are therefore more and more people who do not practice photography as Art and the Photographers who practice Photography Art exhibit and publish mainly for other Photographers. We act as actors in the world of images - photographing and wandering - as an endangered species!
As predicted by Susan Sontag, photography has become a cultural utility in a world where the insatiability of the eye it photographs has increased. And it has spread, especially in social networks, where the natural world is converted into algorithms - which people use to see their own existence confirmed. Increasing aesthetic consumerism provides more and more opportunities for new mechanisms of control.

2 - The reality that never existed:
I like to remember things my own way. [...] How I remember them. Not necessarily the way they happened. "- Lost Highway (1997).

The invention of digital photography and the greater accessibility of photo editing software have made it much easier, more frequent and perfect to change / manipulate images. As a result people no longer have the same faith in photography as a receptacle of truth. However, also in the "analogue era" the manipulation and the staging / manufacturing of images were already practiced.
Today as spectators and consumers of digital images, we are more aware of the obscure borderline between truth and fiction.
Curiously, Spontaneous Street Photography is closer to the apparent truth than Documentary Photography or to that of Photojournalism.
Street photography is like a third strip of a freeway - separate, but parallel to the banners of photojournalism and documentary photography alone (with which it is often confused). Although there are photographers dedicated exclusively to street photography, there are others who, in addition to street photography, also make documentary or news photography - temporarily moving to the next strip. Henri Cartier-Bresson himself did street photography as well as reporting. However the genres should not be confused even though the photographer is the same.
Documentary Photography has approached interpretive "Fine Art" - providing an alternative reality - being increasingly "staged" as was the case of Patrick Willocq's work "I'm a Walé Respect me" (2017).
Reportage Photo has been lying increasingly through more and more manipulation.
In 2015, 22% of the 6,000 competitors to the World Press Photo Contest were eliminated because they passed the red line of manipulation (subtracting or adding objects to the original image).
In the background the documentary impulse, when approaching reality, is at a crossroads where the divergent roads of Creativity and Fidelity leave.
The implementation of the Internet involved the multiplication, massification and democratization of images. We have reached such saturation, that the images no longer represent facts, but ideas and strategies of communication. Each photograph is a fiction that is presented as true. Against what they have made us believe and against what we think, photography always lies. Because reality is a lie of our senses, in consequence, photography is a lie about a lie. As there are more and more photographers, we conclude that people like to deceive the lie of reality with the lie of photography - in an attempt to build the perfect world that each idealizes. Built with our inner truth that is based on memory. But like photography memory can be questioned as a reliable source of information about the past. Because we like to remember things our way and not necessarily how they happened. Did we finally remember what never happened? As I mentioned the photograph with pose or staged has been playing an increasingly preponderant role. Maybe because it looks for a different truth about the facts that surround us. We often wonder if the most significant stories are those that are reported through images or are those that have finally come to count. Finally a word for the so-called digital art that implies photographic work without a photographer and where there is the creation of unrealistic scenarios ( with more or less taste) through a huge manipulation in Photoshop. I think it could be called before digital illustration since the artist in general does not even use the photographic camera.

3 - The Big Deal:
Does anyone know a photographer who is not award winning these days? It's like being published or exhibited or awarded or otherwise followed. - Nick Turpin.

Today we witness the assault of numerous Sites requesting the sending of photographs - promising international exposure and fantastic prizes to the winners of competitions. Competitions judged by pseudo-photo-celebrities and unknown curators on platforms run by people who live in photography without knowing anything about Photography. But the worst thing is that not only do we have to pay to get photographs in such contests but we also pay to be published - if they win - not the other way around! Of course, the respective opinions and reviews - on the photographic work of others - turn out to be, in many cases, mismatched - creating a false notion of what a good photograph is. At the same time they can create the disappointment and desistance of many potential good photographers - encouraging only a narrow and hypercompetitive social group. Obviously, favoritism and interest groups proliferate and favor the injustice of decisions. We see images obtained by anonymous amateurs (emerging talents) - as interesting as those made by some established photographers (especially those of the last century) - not to be highlighted while promoting mediocrity through awards that are now worthless.

4 - Dura Lex:
"Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. "- Howard Zinn

New EU legislation through the new General Regulation on Data Protection (RGPD) results in greater limits to spontaneous and / or documentary photography. The legal regime for the protection of personal data in the European Union was substantially amended in 2016 with the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, which came into force in May 2018. The person responsible for the photographs must be able to demonstrate (mainly by means of a written agreement) that the photographed person (data subject) gave his / her consent to the processing of his / her personal data. However the same data holder has the right to withdraw his consent at any time. Or the community itself, paradoxically, tends to limit further the photograph made by humans while simultaneously watching an increasing use of images collected automatically (surveillance cameras, etc).

5 – Post-Photography:
"Sharing is the keyword of the digital age, and appropriation - or stealing - is a leading post-photography strategy" - Robert Shore.

There are those who use the term post photography as synonymous with photography digital. But what defines post-photography is: The defense of the recycling of images and the claim of appropriationism; the dissolution of the figure of the author with that of editor and curator; the arrival of the playful and simple; the dissolution of the boundaries between the public and the private through the possibility of "sharing" offered by the Internet today. In 1992, Mitchell published the book "The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era" where he suggested that the "post-photographic era" began in the 1990s with digital photography and predicted that digital technology would produce social and cultural changes that would render traditional photography obsolete. Its definition was based primarily on technology; any cultural or behavioral changes were merely the logical consequences of this technological change. The real world is full of chambers; the virtual world is full of images. What role do photographers ultimately have? Post-Photography attempts to answer this question by investigating the possibility of a new language of photographic imagery from the concept that everything has been done before. The images found have become increasingly important in post-photographic practice, with the internet serving as a laboratory for a great type of imaging experimentation. From Google Street View, to the automatic surveillance cameras. Given the abundance of pre-existing visual material in our hyper-documented world, it is not surprising that an increasing amount of photographic art begins with photos of other people. There is nothing new in appropriating images found for art purposes. They are replicated techniques of digital and analog times. After the book After Photography (2009) by Fred Ritchin appeared in 2014 "Post-Photography: The Artist with the Camera" by Robert Shore where the author defends that after all "Post-photography is a moment, not a movement". The book aims to be the first publication to look specifically at artists who are doing experimental works with photographs found in picture banks. Thus, in my humble opinion, post-photography emerges within digital photography, but it is not synonymous. For example, some people who use digital cameras do post-photography. Others, however, are simply using digital technology to practice traditional photography. Today, photography and post photography coexist. This is despite other, more radical authors (eg Kevin Connor) arguing that the "puberty" moment of photography was during the time when technology switched from analog to digital. But it was with the advent of the Internet-enabled smartphone that adolescence really set in. And this important change provided indicators that would eventually allow for further, deeper transformations approaching adulthood.


B - Prognosis.

1 - Of the Cyborgs and the Synthetic.
“So all we have to do is wait for those “seeing” machines” which can see and perceive in our stead.” – Paul Virilio

"The signs and symptoms diagnosed determine, as a consequence of the Prognosis being cautious and "reserved". After the new facial and object recognition software, the consequences of emerging technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence - the potential of which is beginning to become more noticeable - is assumed. In the future, except in photojournalism, there will be no place for a descriptive photograph of what surrounds us; everything will be an amalgam of interpretations - whether performed by the photographer as author or with autonomy from the camera itself. The public will require more sophisticated, dynamic and responsive images to the desired changes, connected to reality by something more than a static two-dimensional rectangle of raw visual data - isolated in space and time. Through the signs of what has already occurred with the emergence of the smartphone revolutionary changes are predicted where the cultural presence of photography is not led by photographers, editors or camera makers, but by mobile phone engineers. And this process will be developed as companies take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies to use images in extraordinary ways. A new paradigm where we can quickly project and send perfect and livable three-dimensional images. The future points to ever-smaller mechanisms producing ever more extraordinary images. After photography, as we know it today, we will probably use glasses with mini digital sensors, which are also sensitive to other electromagnetic radiation (eg ultraviolet and infrared), linked not only to social networks but also to government organizations that monitor and control us processing and diffusion of new images. Taylor Davidson described the camera of the future as an application, software that would compile data from multiple sensors by combining it with visual data from both humans and their synthetic replicas. Premonitory is the scene from the film Blade Runner in which a replicant weeps disappointed when she discovers that the images and the memories of the child she owned were manipulated - just like her. However I am not as pessimistic as some authors who, to the rhythm of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, have already "killed" the photograph before it died. Signs like the current recrudescence of the analogue make me believe that, at least in the short and medium term, the static and tangible "decisive moment" of the analog and the ephemeral and "elastic" time of the digital will not only coexist but complement each other - mutually potentiating.


C - Therapeutics.
"If you deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed." - Rick Riordan1

1 - Journey to a Paradise from where we can all be expelled.
It would be desirable that in a future digital-quantum world, it may be possible to reconcile the artificial with the human. Instead of using emerging post-photography just to delineate, document, and explore a post-human system. The big question is: will we be able to turn this moment into an opportunity to walk into a "light" era instead of the darkness of a Present where wars and terror reign? Let us dance in the light of ambiguity. Preserving the humility of those who observe. The simple act of observing can change the world - inside and outside of us. Say yes and, simultaneously, no. And continue to pose questions through photography. As long as we do not come to the possibility that we can be increasingly controlled through the images produced by machines, let us continue to photograph in analog and digital as we do today - not only because (like any other Visual Art) Photography makes people more happy - but above all because it will always be an important act of Love and Freedom.

 If we remember that the look arrives first than the words - when the newborn recognizes and dialogues through the encounter with the eyes of his mother. We conclude that, after all, gaze is the most primitive form of communication - which Nature has given us and which integrates our DNA. Only later will words come and gradually forget the ability to understand us through the "wave frequency" of "SEE". However words will never completely replace the look. There are no words to describe what we feel when we look at someone we love. If we close our eyes, we will not have such a perfect notion of the room where we are - even if well described by words. That is, none of the other senses can overcome the look in terms of communication. The words of a writer are after all attempts to verbalize / explain the way he SEES the world. We are essentially "visual animals" and, I am convinced that as long as there are human beings.

quarta-feira, 31 de outubro de 2018

The long journey of MEM


There is a new tendency in niche perfumeries to revolutionize the traditional structure of fragrances. Whether in the construction based on the 3 floors of notes (head, heart and drydown) or in the very concept of what a perfume is for. It's not only about smelling vanilla or oud. It is also about providing the opportunity to travel through unpredictable, non-linear and more wide and elaborated olfactory landscapes. Like an olfactory "dream movie trailer."

Besides the Bogue (of Antonio Gardoni) we must pay also attention to the creativity of the brand "The Zoo" (of Christophe Laudamiiel). They are "concept" essences that put us before challenges. In general they are complex and transport us to environments (through combinations and contrasts of chord sets) and not to isolated notes. We can, for example, inhabit Times Square (see the fragrance with this name of Masque Milano) with the smell of the interior of the taxis, the Chinese restaurant and the cherry in the lipstick of a passing Jessica Rabbit. Or alternatively we board on a train with an unknown destination where we are confronted successively with scents / landscapes of mysterious places. From a herd of Tyranosauros (smelling of damp earth and primitive forest) passing in the middle of our old barbershop smelling like an old cheap lotion - Acqua Velva type - to a gas station lost on a deserted US road - where the wind brings hay rolls scent and where we give ride to an hippie using an extra-terrestrial Patchouli. Maybe we can choose the olfactory landscape of a brothel in New Delhi or a pygmy village in the Sudan or simply refer to an oasis in the middle of the Sahara. Shoe grease, laundry detergent, wild flowers, champagne, a passing cat, my godmother's fox stole, the skin of a woman in a garden at sunset.
We are probably moving to a new paradigm where in the future people may also have fragrances to travel, by smell, to specific places - imprisoned in bottles of essences. These olfactory landscapes may not have pleasant smells or even be easy to use.

All this because I bought the last creation (already celebrated) of Antonio Gardoni: MEM of Bogue.
I think MEM alludes to the initials of the word memory (the meaning is not explained anywhere) and it may be some kind of Fellini's Amarcod in Gardoni's eau de parfum.

However, opinions on MEM differ. You love it or you hate it. Luca Turin classifies it as "masterpiece" and the Kafkaesque blog agrees.
I must say that it is difficult to describe (it is "compact" and almost impossible to decode) one of the most "avant garde" fragrances that exist and is already "in another championship".
It's an experience that lasts - on paper tape because I have not yet dared to experiment on the skin - for at least 3 days (when the "civet" of drydown still feels). The different fragrance "sites" describe their components differently and Bogue does not indicate them. We know only that Mr Gardoni referred: "the final fragrance actually contains 86 ingredients, applied with a technique of" micro-balancing mini-quantities of almost 'invisible' elements to create notes, "ghosts," and suggestions that are "hard to pin down . "

Luckyscent presents the following list: "Petitgrain, mandarin, grapefruit, lavender (4 different species), ylang ylang, lily of the valley, white champaca, jasmine grandiflorum, rose damascena, bourbon geranium, vanilla, peppermint, laurel, Siam benzoin, rosewood, sandalwood, Himalayan cedarwood, labdanum, ambergris, musk, castoreum, civet, amber. "

For me started with a bitter orange caramelized (or will be tangerine marmalade?), and continues with the aroma of sugar burned over cream-milk and a little coke. All this is based on a symphony of 5 different types of lavender - distilled in such a way that the final result turns out to be atypical for the lavender to which we are accustomed mixed with a little air and resin from pines and vetiver (perhaps also with medicinal mint candies). There is a multifloral and fruity facet with bubble gum. Sometimes it seems that I am detecting many perfumes that I have smelled before in my distant past. There are chords that disappear and seems to come back. There are so many ingredients (it's 86 !!!!) that most certainly I did not detected many of them. However after 2 to 3 hours I feel more petals of sweet flowers and, as a consequence, the evocation of the soft skin of a female neck.
After the sensation of passing through the scents of a street within the first film "Blade Runner" and running up the stairs of a city that constantly rebuilds with each step, the perfume leads me to the figure of an old wise man sheltered in his beards and in the penumbra of the memories of an immense library - with reams of books to be lost in a ceiling of impenetrable clouds - like MEM. A huge and silent space like the room where ages the hero of the film 2001 Odyssey in Space. So we have a drydown accompanied by the drums of the orchestra interpreting "Also sprach Zarathustra" - in the version of the OST of that film. Many other "ghost" places could be counted but I do not want to spoil the surprise sensations of those who also come to experience the long journey of MEM.
MEM probably wants to symbolize Memory but it may also, in my opinion, mean Memorable. Because it can enter the history of perfumery as one of the first of a new generation of fragrances - based on different assumptions.

segunda-feira, 29 de outubro de 2018

Photography and discovery of reality


The photographer Wolfgang Born wrote in 1929: "The discovery of reality is the mission of photography".
It is particularly interesting that he referred to "discovering" rather than "reproducing."
Because:

1 - Reality is an illusion of our senses. Other animals like bees and bats will “see” a different reality because they have different sensitive organs. Not only we can not detect other wavelengths (infrared, ultraviolet, ultrasound, etc.) but our brain tricks us about the images we believe to be reality.
When we see a landscape on a sunny day our brain processes the images received by the optical path in order to perceive the information that is in the shadow as well as the one that is in zones of high lights. For this it proceeds like a computer - as if using an algorithm, type HDR, of Photoshop - to modify the visual information reconstructing it according what it calculates that could be. The colors and shapes are thus altered depending on the greater or lesser exposure to light.

2 - A camera does not have a powerful and creative brain like ours. Despite technological changes, the camera sensor can not obtain all the information contained in the shadow areas - if we expose the image based on the reading of the highlights (sunshine). When we process the image, we usually try to "imitate" our brain with Lightroom and or Photoshop.
Perhaps in the future there will appear mechanisms capable of detecting more information (other wavelengths) around us.

3 - Today, the act of photographing with any device is always linked to algorithms. If some more radical entity understood that we should always obtain - in photography - an image totally faithful to what we believe to be the reality, then it could indirectly be, for example, to "ban" black and white photography because it does not convey reality as we see it - in color.
When we frame an image we are already changing even more that apparent reality - because we isolate only a small part of a whole. And without a context we can be led to “see” something different from what actually happened.
Each photograph is a fiction that presents itself as true. Against what they made us believe and against what we think, photography always lies. As reality is a lie of our senses, in consequence, photography is a lie about a lie.
Walter Benjamin (in the first half of XX Century) and Roland Barthes (in 1980) saw photography as something that comes to disturb the very concept of memory and history.
Cameras are ways of changing what we think is reality. Teleobjectives and wide angles also distort such reality. All photos mediate content. Faithful recording of reality is a false standard. In other words, the more we try to reproduce reality, the more we can get away from it.

4 - If we reason with Buddhist parables about the eternal question: What are we doing in this world? We would reply that the answer is contained in the question itself. We want to find out what we are doing here. Because if we already knew it, we did not have to go through life to ask the question.

5 - Consequently we return to the opening sentence. When photographing we are just trying to discover what the reality will be. Knowing that we will not be able to fully describe it. We can not pretend to record with absolute fidelity the world around us. And the big question is: How photography can lie to expose a deeper truth.

6 - Therefore every photographer tries to interpret reality in his own way - but with the knowledge that he will never be able to reproduce it as it is.
I remember another Buddhist parable about the existence of multiple religions. Reality is like an elephant being described by several blind people around it. Each one describes the elephant depending on the place where they are. Those who feel their legs say it's a tree trunk. Those who grab at the tail say it's a broom, the one who picks up the trunk says it's a hose. That is, each one describes the elephant depending on where it is.

So the photographers will have to recognize that they are like blind people only trying to discover our world. Not as a faithful recording but trying to understand Poetry and Beauty.

sexta-feira, 26 de outubro de 2018

O Cheiro da Floresta


Continuo a celebrar a minha recuperação do olfacto dedicando-me um pouco à análise e ao gosto pelos perfumes. Mas como um pescador de pérolas (poucas) que vão aparecendo e que se afirmam categoricamente como fragrâncias “outstanding” que se destacam da banalidade actual de um continuum de fragrâncias medíocres.
Desta vez trata-se da “Papillon Artisan Perfumes” fundada em 2011 por Liz Moores que, neste momento, colhe a unanimidade dos elogios dos grandes críticos e especialistas honestos. Pelo que li tem um perfil independente, artesanal (Liz colhe muitos dos produtos na floresta onde vive – New Forest em Inglaterra) e no seu Site e na sua página do Facebook (#PapillonPerfumery) respira-se honestidade e integridade.
As 5 fragrâncias que criou nos seus 8 anos de existência (Anubis, Tobacco Rose, Salome, Angélique e Dryad) são muito aplaudidas e premiadas e Liz é considerada a grande revelação actual na arte de fazer fragrâncias.
A sua empresa está ainda representada apenas em 7 países (10 perfumarias) europeus não contando com a Inglaterra. Não envia encomendas on-line para fora do UK. Por isso tive que encomendar “Dryad” (uma Eau de Parfum que demorou 2 anos a ser concebida) na Alemanha.

O Site informa:
“Narcissus. Oakmoss. Jonquil. Cedrat. Galbanum. Benzoin. Vetiver. As vibrant emerald Galbanum weaves with the delicate flesh of Bergamot, the nomadic wanderings of Dryad begin. Beneath jade canopies, sweet-herbed Narcissus nestles with gilded Jonquil. Shadows of Apricot and Cedrat morph radiant greens to a soft golden glow. Earthed within the ochre roots of Benzoin, heady Oakmoss entwines with deep Vetiver hues.”

Depois de o experimentar na pele fiquei “agarrado” pelo aroma suave, acolhedor e misterioso de um “chypre” que não parece um “chypre”, com uma classe e complexidade quase indescritível (sinal que as notas estão muito bem “entrelaçadas”). É daquelas fragrâncias em que parece que estamos sempre a encontrar novos acordes. Confesso, por exemplo, que também me pareceu detectar uma nota de rizoma de lírio – que não vem descrita na informação supra. Mas um lírio muito especial. Um lírio de beijos e não um lírio funerário. Outras vezes pareceu-me descobrir uma nuvem sensual de musk formatado para amantes intemporais.
Se o aroma tivesse cor seria verde - como as florestas e os Dryads que são os espíritos das árvores (duendes ou ninfas). Mas há, simultaneamente, um lado profundo, super romântico, “antigo” e obscuro que fascina. Algo “retro feel made modern”. Ou um “vintage Guerlain” fabricado no séc. XXI.

É um perfume definitivamente masculino que parece ter sido feito para o Peter Pan. Mas com a condição de que, ao fim de algumas horas, este se transforme num adulto com “look” à Rodolfo Valentino - e, finalmente, tenha o romance, que todos esperam, com a fada “Sininho” ao som do Moonlight Serenade.
Ou em alternativa podemos imaginar Aragorn viajar no tempo e deixar a saga do “Senhor dos Anéis” para abraçar de novo Arwen - a sua amada Princesa Élfica – em pleno séc. XXI, num terraço “chic” sobre as luzes de Paris.

Obviamente uma fragrância sofisticada para ocasiões muito muito especiais.

quarta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2018

O regresso des “Imortelles"


Agora deu-me para isto. Analisar fragrâncias. No fundo estou de certo modo “a festejar” o ter recuperado (ao fim de 8 meses) o olfacto que tinha perdido totalmente em Janeiro – em consequência de uma gripe. É como ter estado a contemplar uma paisagem em preto e branco e passar agora a vê-la numa festa de cores que regressam - aparentemente mais vibrantes. É uma nova “alegria olfactiva” que descubro. E uma das “cores olfactivas” que me dá muito prazer é o aroma das perpétuas das areias, “erva caril” (ou “immortelles”) que me costuma acompanhar no meu regresso da praia, ao fim da tarde, ao longo das dunas da costa alentejana – onde passo as férias de Verão. Fico sempre com uma sensação relaxante perante o odor das “immortelles” - por dentro do ar morno que emana do solo. 

Na Antiguidade, as suas flores eram muito utilizadas para fazer grinaldas, com que se coroavam os ídolos. Por conservarem por muito tempo a sua cor amarelo dourada, eram conhecidas pelo nome de imortais ou perpétuas.
Pela invulgar fragrância a lembrar o caril, as duas espécies, existentes em Portugal, são utilizadas em culinária, em pratos de arroz e vegetais. A sua inalação é por vezes apontada como possível atenuante dos sintomas da depressão e tradicionalmente utilizava-se como afrodisíaco.
Como a ocasião faz o ladrão resolvi encomendar uma fragrância (Le Mat #LeMat#) que incorpora o cheiro das “immortelles” e que é referenciada como uma das 20 obras primas da perfumaria – dos últimos 10 anos. É muito interessante, alias, a descrição feita pelo conhecido critico Luca Turin no seu ultimo livro (2018) e que não resisto a transcrever mais em baixo – no final.
Depois do frasco chegar, retirei-o da caixa de madeira que o transportou de Itália (com a carta de Tarot "Le Mat") - experimentei e fiquei de imediato seduzido pelo seu aroma balsâmico, quente e doce /sensual - com uma grande projecção. Dada a sua longevidade durante 24 horas não resisti a cheirar frequentemente a pele. Uma descoberta e uma surpresa.
Não por acaso que o perfume da Annick Goutal que mais gosto é o “Sables”. Exactamente porque também incorpora “immortelles”. Aliás o “Le Mat” não só me recordou o “Sables” mas também uma das obras primas do século passado: o “Yatagan” (mais acre e com mais Patchouly) de boa memória que usei durante meia dúzia de anos após o seu lançamento (1976) – antes da Caron dar cabo do perfume com as desastrosas 4 gerações / reformulações que se seguiram à original. 
É uma fragrância em que o cheiro quase agreste, vulcânico, e a areia quente – que nos liga à profundidade da “terra” – é, surpreendentemente, amenizado com o genial contraste doce da Rosa Centifolia de Grasse. É uma essência fora do comum também porque mantém todas as suas notas, com ligeiras flutuações, até se esbater. Ou seja, destaca-se da habitual evolução temporal das notas de topo, coração e fundo – comportando-se quase como um todo olfactivo ao longo do dia.
Quase cor de fogo – a lembrar-nos que provavelmente não será coincidência pertencer a uma empresa (Mendittorosa) sediada em Nápoles - perto do Vesúvio – é decididamente a minha fragrância (“essência”) preferida com “immortelles”!

Informação proporcionada pela empresa Mendittorosa:
Le Mat explodes with sweet earth, heaven-sent patchouli anchoring a sensual chypré homage of Rosa Centifolia from Grasse, the strange complexities of immortelle, cloves, black pepper and Egyptian geranium. A talisman of balsamic blessed absolution that will boldly defend mind and body. Perfumer: Anne-Sophie Behaghel (Flair Paris). Extrait de Parfum 25%.

"Review" pelo Luca Turin: 
“Many years ago I was standing in line with my girlfriend in a dismal Chinese takeaway in South London, well past midnight, when a young, pudgy, pale-faced young man behind us caught sight of my companion’s face. He put his hand to his mouth, took two steps back and in a shaky voice said “Blanche….. you’ve come back!” He explained that he had an obsession with a Victorian murderess, rummaged through his pockets, pulled out a wallet, from it a printed photo folded in four: the exact, uncanny, perfect likeness of my girlfriend. We left, quite shaken, and ate in awed silence.
I had a similar experience when smelling Le Mat, which is the unhoped-for reincarnation of a long-lost fragrance that means a lot to me, Lucien Lelong’s Elle..Elle.., composed by Jean Carles in 1948 and discontinued a few years later. I once had a bottle which, sadly, was emptied by a overzealous cleaner who upended it. It was (and now is again) one of the most affecting and rarest accords in perfumery: rose + camomile. Camomile has a heartfelt, hot-breath drama to it that, when mixed with the grandeur of rose, gives the impression of a combustible soul playing with matches.
I had once tried to recreate Elle… Elle… with the help of Guy Robert and Jean Carles’ son Marcel, and came pretty close. But Le Mat is closer still. It is always amazing how, within an essentially infinite combinatoric space like perfumery, some mathematical attractors seem to exist, that guide the hand of the perfumer towards forms that have more force and more meaning. This particular Angel is now back among us. Smell it before it returns to its celestial sphere.
Update: I’ve just checked Michael Edwards’ database. Le Mat was composed by Amélie Bourgeois and Anne-Sophie Behaghel at Flair. Edwards too uses the word celestial to describe it (a clear message is contained in the bottle, it seems), but to my surprise does not list camomile among the materials. Can this form be reached from different directions, possibly via the immortelle note? Mystery never quite deserts perfumery.”

segunda-feira, 22 de outubro de 2018

Um Perfume e uma história


Há uns dias atrás deu-me para ficar curioso com o anúncio do lançamento de uma nova fragrância do conceituado perfumista Andy Tauer. Sobretudo devido ao título: ““Les années 25”. Porque 1925 foi o ano da inauguração da Exposição das Artes Decorativas” de Paris - da qual deriva o termo “Art Deco”. Art Deco que aprecio muito e que influencia obviamente o design do frasco.
Obedecendo a um impulso irresítivel encomendei rapidamente pela Net pois tratava-se de uma edição de apenas 500 exemplares para todo o mundo e estava quase esgotada.
Por outro lado também gostava de perceber até que ponto o Tauer conseguia “homeagear” sem imitar um dos grandes avatares da perfumaria lançada precisamente naquele ano e naquela exposição. O icónico Shalimar da Guerlain. Claro que me refiro ao Shalimar ainda de boa cepa produzido até à década de 1960.
Compreendi ainda que era uma tentativa de recuperar a imagem da minha mãe e dos tempos em que com ela passeava pela baixa lisboeta.
E isto porque a memória olfactiva consegue recuar até à década de 1950 quando, ainda miúdo, acompanhava-a até à “Perfumaria da Moda” (antes “Au Bonheur des Dames” e agora loja da Nespresso com o mesmo nome - no início da rua do Carmo - onde foram filmadas, em 1941, alguma cenas inesquecíveis do “Pai Tirano” de António Lopes Ribeiro).
A minha mãe e as amigas que aí se encontravam com ela - flutuavam num turbilhão de moléculas olfactivas de Shalimar. Recordo as cores dos frascos (Baccarat) com um liquído cor de cognac escuro no interior (julgo que os exemplares seriam produzidos na década de 1940 pois na altura quase tudo o que vinha “do estrangeiro” chegava anos depois) e recordo também um cheiro forte, animalesco e ao mesmo tempo doce que ficava “eternamente” a pairar.

Finalmente chegou o perfume que me apressei a experimentar e analisar.
Assim: “Les anées 25” (Eau de Parfum) é compartilhável (dizem) e tem uma grande longevidade que nos projecta para o passado enquanto permanecemos no presente. O estilo inimitável e contemporâneo dos aromas do Andy Tauer (tipo vento seco e doce no deserto) está muito mais esbatido (espreita apenas cerca de 8 horas depois) do que eu esperaria. Assim, na minha modesta opinião, esta "fragrância vintage moderna" consegue fornecer sobretudo um contexto olfativo de época (“Les Anées Folles”) sacrificando a “assinatura” típica do Tauer. De facto Imaginamos facilmente as raparigas de cabelo “à garçonnette” com as pernas descobertas agitando-se ao ritmo do "Charleston”. E a coisa é tão perfeita que, cá para mim, o Tauer fez o perfume primeiro e baptisou-o depois consoante o que este evocava – já que o olfacto está ligado aos centros da memória e das emoções.
Josephine Baker e Mistinguett certamente que iriam usar este novo perfume do Tauer que abre com tímidos acordes cítricos, de bergamota, “petit grain”, óleo de laranja e um gengibre picante fresco da Índia. Pouco depois sobressaiem a rosa búlgara, a raiz de lírio (vibrante) - que ocupam todo o centro do palco. É referido na descrição que o musgo de carvalho, a tonka, o sândalo indiano e o âmbar produzem uma aura final com Patchouli, Musk e Baunilha. Mas na minha modesta opinião o conjunto baunilha-tonka-patchouli no “day after” é quase imperceptível (not gourmand) pois fica submergido muito tempo pela rosa e sobretudo pela chicotada da raiz de lírio.
Finalmente e comparando com o Shalimar... Apesar do “Les Anées 25” ser mais intenso do que é habitual para o Tauer, o Shalimar era uma “pedrada” ainda muito maior que se espalhava pela casa toda durante dias (dava para ter dor de cabeça). No Shalimar a baunilha estava muito mais presente adocicando francamente o ultimo acto. Por outro lado no Shalimar apesar da rosa e do lírio notava-se bem o almíscar e o cheiro a “couro”- que neste perfume não registei. Ou seja o Shalimar era o verdadeiro “Scent of a Woman”.
Concluindo: “Les Anées 25” são uma máquina de regresso ao passado muito bem construída, “classy” e sedutora. Mas não a irei usar. É uma essência, na minha modesta opinião, demasiado feminina. Fantástica para oferecer à namorada por quem se está apaixonado esperando que ela o use durante um jantar à luz de velas e ou dançando ao som dos anos 20 e 30 do século XX. Sugiro "Midnight The Stars and You" pela orquesta de Ray Noble.

segunda-feira, 17 de setembro de 2018

The reality that never existed


I like to remember things my own way. [...] How I remember them. Not necessarily the way they happened. "- Lost Highway (1997).
“No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium. It is the photographer’s job to get this medium to say what you need it to say. Because photography has a certain verisimilitude, it has gained a currency as truthful – but photographs have always been convincing lies.”  - Stephen Leslie

Photographs have been lying for a long time. There are also numerous known cases of analogue images where there has been "cheating":
Robert Capa (1936 - Falling Soldier); The Grief (Dmitri Balterman's 1942); "Raising a flag over Reichstag" (Yevgeny Khaldei - 1945); Doisneau 1950 Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville; Ruth Orkin (American Girl in Italy - 1951); Fan Ho (Aproaching Shadow - 1954);

Of course the invention of digital photography and the greater accessibility of photo editing software have made it much easier, more frequent and perfect to change / manipulate images. As a result people no longer have the same faith in photography as a receptacle of truth.
Reportage Photo has been lying increasingly through more and more manipulation.
In 2015, 22% of the 6,000 competitors to the World Press Photo Contest were eliminated because they passed the red line of manipulation (subtracting or adding objects to the original image).
Of course the sense tells us that there should be a red line. Above all, do not add or subtract elements that did not exist in the image. For the rest it seems appropriate to use the tools of Lightroom as before when doing dodge and burn in analogue photos.
Cartier-Bresson and other great analogue-era photographers did not spare the dodge and burn experts to work on their images. I remember Dennis Stock’s iconic portrait of James Dean in Times Square and the work of Inirio from Magum.

Today the act of photographing with any device is always linked to algorithms. If we must have an absolute fidelity to what our eyes see as reality then maybe someone radical should also consistently "ban" also B&W photography because it does not convey reality as we see it.
Sometimes I think that we have a problem when someone try to impose and generalize one definition of "Street Photography" as a canonical rule that the world of photographers must follow. Definition that reflects only his own way to seeing and photographing.

When you are framing you are already changing the apparent reality because you have isolated only a small part that can lead us to see something different from what actually happened.
Each photograph is a fiction that is presented as true. Against what they have made us believe and against what we think, photography always lies. Because reality is a lie of our senses, in consequence, photography is a lie about a lie. 

I am sure that great photographers (such as Garry Winogrand) of the past were not concerned with definitions while photographing. So they did a good job.

I think that after all it will be necessary to have prudence and sense - as in everything in life.

The documentary impulse is always at a crossroads where the divergent roads of Creativity and Fidelity leave. And I think it would not be a good choice to give up from Creativity. Aesthetics is also a way of giving life to Life.