There’s this notion that there’s a lot more to our world than meets the eye. Literally. For example, we can’t see infrared or ultraviolet light as some creatures can, yet with a boost from technology, we can suddenly see as they do, and whole new vistas of patterns and relationships open up.
This might be a useful way of looking at the work of award-winning Italian street photographer Riccardo Magherini. Every photographer brings a point of view to what they do, a personal way of seeing reality that’s more or less clear in a finished image. Magherini’s reality is fascinating in its intentional lack of clarity. He layers perspective and moments in time, as if seeing through an insect’s compound eyes, or those of an alien with extra-dimensional perception. It’s what we’d normally see, only…deeper. Like if those fabled, unused parts of our brain were suddenly switched on.
Magherini looks well beyond the familiar decisive moment, instead layering small associated moments which, in their aggregate, tell a nuanced story. He’s spoken about wandering the streets looking for a face or scene that strikes him, and then getting to work:
“I collect pictures all around that moment that talk about it. Then shots are composed and merged, ‘shaped’ to tell that story, suggesting the feeling of that moment or, in some cases, a memory of it.”
Given the tsunami of imagery and data that grows on our horizon every day, it may be that Magherini’s time-layering method will become the new normal: all photo images become layered, with micro-shifts in perspective aggregated to represent a single point of view, like a Google search results page. Which would beg the question: is it the reality that’s changing, or is technology adapting our eyes to see the things that have always been there?