The idea of the project Phobia has arisen in the context of an unprecedented mass media campaign with predictions of doomsday in December 2012. I decided to use this information occasion about and related to hysteria in order to clarify some of my thoughts about the ambiguity of such concept of photography, as an objective reality. The starting point was the condition of a person in circumstances of uncertainty and wants to prove or disprove the approximation of the Apocalypse, to find signs of the impending disaster in a usual space.
In fact, this project is a sort of psychological research. I wanted to put in doubt the very possibility of the existence of the objective reality, to show its strong dependence on the state of mind perceiving subject. We see the reality in a way that is dictated by our emotions, intellect and experience. Scientist-dendrologist, a woodcutter and an artist entering the same forest will see three different forests. Therefore, fear and confusion taken as a starting point from the presentiment of the coming Apocalypse, in the process of shooting I let these emotions, which are often the companions of uncertainty to direct my vision.
Though I wanted to feelings of anxiety be on the subconscious level rather than on the level of intelligence (because fear is incompatible with intelligence and suppresses it). Pure externals or effects while shooting and editing were no good for this aim. Also I refused to shoot the scenes with the plot, which had already suffered some kind of emotional background, because they could be interpreted too clearly. I wanted to take pictures open to interpretation. So I was looking for inconsistencies between the visible and perceived in the most ordinary landscapes and stories. I wanted to create feeling of constant anxiety concern by this contradiction.
Some portraits included in the project rather hide than show people represented on them. They (people) are placed at too big distance that they can be properly seen, but not that far to consider them as part of a landscape. Their suits looks more like some kind of camouflage and also don’t make it easier to watch.
I narrowed geography of shootings not only to borders of the hometown (since for my task it was essentially important to work in well familiar space) but also by the territory of the basin of the Moskva River. This second restriction, besides obvious hints to a Bible flood, is connected with idea that water for me associates with fear and uncertainty more than any other element.
Alexander Pisarev, 2013.
Personal site: www.alexanderpisarev.com
Translation: Ksenia Klimanova.
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