Jo Michael de Figueiredo: Blind Spots – a Study in Mechanism of Light

“Blind Spots” is a series of photographs of objects that have an industrial past, but no longer an obvious purpose. It is a study of how these objects get penetrated by an exact sidelight, leaving behind a landscape of shadows, as distorted traces of matter. Things are more or less opaque and their shadows are therefore unpredictable. Even things we think of as completely transparent cast shadows. We see dust and dirt and scratches, in short the deposition of time. Such is the mechanism of light.

There is a sadness in this naked light. Because of things past, because of the relentless now, the beauty of what is forgettable and forgotten. But as a result of this sadness, there is also love, its twin sister, as it were. Love seeks truth, in my view, and living in truth amounts to having the courage to see things as they are and accept them as they are.

Some of the lenses in the photographs are elements from old enlargers. Others are from worn glasses. In either case, the pictures bear witness to the act of seeing and of rendering what has been seen. In a sense, they are evidence of the photographic process itself. The prisms in the photographs decipher the sidelight by breaking it into its elements, and this is the very light without which we cannot see the world at all, nor render it as we see it. The quality of the lenses and the level of mechanical precision of the Leica S-System gave me the confidence to approach my beloved objects.

- Jo Michael

Read the article in its original Norwegian. “Blind Spots” and other art work from Jo Michael can be found here. This article originally appeared here in May 2014 and is reproduced with permission.