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ALEX VELLA GERA - MANUFACTURED MEMORIES


' The photos in this book were shot between 1996 and 1999. Looking back, I can see now that when put together they form a kind of travelogue: Prague, Essaouira, Malta, Sapri, Krakow. My grandmother, my artist cousin, my girlfriend, my father, a flatmate, an unknown baby. flashes of time manufactured into pictures through the miracle of photography. There isn’t much more to say. They are what they are.'




Alex Vella Gera used to take photos. Then he stopped. It all began at a rock concert. He watched transfixed as a man raised his woman up to see above the crowd and as she rose the light fell so bewitchingly on one side of her face that he regretted for the first time in his life not owning a camera to capture such a fleeting vision. The next day or a week later he walked into a camera shop and bought the cheapest thing they had. So it began, shooting roll after roll of film, aim and click, aim and click, images, pictures, abstract forms, colours, the world came alive to him in a way he hadn’t experienced before. But the camera had its limitations. the pictures were uniformly flat, too much of a photo, not enough of something else. What that something else was he had no idea until he came into possession, quite by chance, of an old Pratika camera with a faulty lens. He soon found out his new camera sometimes took photos out of focus, randomly. alex was fascinated by these happy accidents and light soon became his major preoccupation, as it is to all photographers. He realised that by fiddling with the lens focus, light took on unpredictable and exciting distortions, giving the real world outside a pictorial quality. He understood that the forms and shapes that emerged from these distortions were in some way the very soul of the objects he was photographing.this discovery turned out to be both his artistic peak and his downfall.addicted to light distortion, he gradually forgot what the real world actually looked like. everything was more serene slightly out of focus, anything can be incandescent if you point an out of focus camera at a light source. He was bewitched and could not turn back. Then one day in late summer, by a stream in Bulgaria, as the sun flashed one more time into her lens, the camera gave up her final image then just stopped working. He could have taken it to someone, maybe have it repaired, but in reality he was tired of looking at the world through that distortion creating eyepiece. so he cradled it gently into the bubbling water and let it go. It hardly floated at all, went straight down. The stream was deeper than he thought.

[hupso]