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Time for play

Friday, 04 April 2014 13:37 Written by Emma Cecilia García

There is a never-ending debate surrounding the representation of reality in photography, based in particular on the premise that the purpose of the medium is to reproduce one’s personal world, capturing dreams, obsessions and anxieties though the lens, in addition to intervening in the printing process and the final product.

Photographers construct their world using fragments of their own history and the reality around them, but also use the impulses of their inner world that comes to life from the moment the photograph is taken to the final result on photosensitive paper. This process reveals the reality of the creator and his link with the outer world. The photographer chooses and captures the moment, whether documentary or constructed, and gives it a personal meaning, linked to his own subjectivity, thus diluting his links to the environment.

The daughter of photographer Antonio Kahlo, Cristina grew up in Coyoacán, immersed in the smells of chemical products and the magic of seeing images appear on the paper. She began to use her father’s darkroom at the age of 13, and at 18 she enrolled at the Escuela Activa de Fotografía in Mexico City and a year later at the Centro de Enseñanza de la Imagen in Madrid.

Kahlo works patiently on found objects or geometric bodies, their childlike hands gripping tiny birds, or on animals that seem to belong a fantastical world. She works with Nature and, of course, water. Kahlo touches each image after taking the photograph. She works delicately  on the all the printed images, lighting, blocking and highlighting them, producing fantastical atmospheres. Touching them up with oil paint, twisting them, reproducing the finished works, she adapts reality to her own taste.

The body is a constant feature in Kahlo’s work, at times in veiled children’s bodies, or in simulations such as the hand sharing the space with geometrical figures, evoking De Chirico. She rarely depicts an entire body, allowing arms, hands or feet to take center stage. The foot is an obsessive subject, severed from the ankle as the photo is taken, sometimes innocently swimming close to a dolphin, or in a balancing act, or enhanced by color. The images slip from child’s play to the painful strength of the fragmented body.
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