Photography, according to Spanish philographer Richard Le Manz, is equally essential to communicate the beauty of our natural environment and the complex socio-environmental issues, which threaten our planet.
Speaking at the XPOSURE International Photography Festival 2019 on Sunday at a session titled ‘Do not Take Pictures', Manz said photographers need to start asking themselves a few critical questions before embarking on a journey to take images of the environment.
Manz's exhibition 'Philography’, on display at XPOSURE, is divided into two sections -- Our Hands and Habitat, Beyond Photography and A Journey of Intelligence -- and is an abstract narrative of our changing environment.
“For me, photography has three basic elements. First, the referent, or what to photograph. The second is light, followed by time. Photographers are constantly juggling these three elements,” he explained.
“However, it is essential to add that fourth and most important ingredient to your photography – your thoughts and ideas. Photography should reflect what you are thinking about,” he advised the audience. “Ask yourselves, Who am I? What messages do I want to transmit? Most importantly, why do I want to send these messages? Also, what do you want to make people feel through your messages?”, he continued.
Manz did not discover his love for photography until about six years ago. “I used to draw and paint when I was a teenager”, he said. Telling attendees about how he started his career as a photographer, Manz said, “I always say my photography career was the outcome of my passion for travelling. My wife and I love adventure; we love to travel, we love new experiences, and we are always in pursuit of the most incredible landscapes on the planet.”
He added, “However, as we launched ourselves into this journey to explore the world around us and ourselves in the process, the immense responsibility to protect our planet came along with it.”
Explaining his unique technique, Manz said he uses photography as a window for people to look into the extraordinary relationship human beings have with nature.
“Over time my photography has transformed into what I call philography. As you can tell it is portmanteau of philosophy and photography,” the artist said, who is the main promoter of the support project Nepal Will Rise Again through which he and several others in the photography and humanitarian communities have joined hands to help the victims of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
In some of Manz's more thought-provoking works, he has combined parts of a combustion engine with elements from the natural world. Speaking about what motivates his artistic vision, Manz said: “Maybe we need to find a new beginning in our relationship with our beautiful, yet fragile environment. All of my works are unnamed because I want people to derive their own unique interpretation of the issues at hand.”
Organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, the four-day Xposure 2019 concluded on Sunday, September 22.