Nicolau Spadoni: Réplica

A black and white photograph of the back of someone's head; they have shoulder-length curly and whispy hair with a chain necklace dangling down their back under their hair. In white text on the top right reads

Detail from Réplica (2022), black and white film. image / provided

This ongoing portraiture series was born upon contact with German photographer Michael Schmidt's Frauen, which he presented in the Hannover Expo 2000. As a replication of some aspects of Schmidt's work, Réplica establishes the connection between the two photographers but also functions as a reflection on their common themes, such as the position of the man in gender discourse and gender representation (which around that same time was also being pursued by writers such as Thomas Meinecke). As a reply to Schmidt's work, it intends to shed light onto certain limitations of his series — above all, the over-normative representation of (German) women.

On a different note, the all-analog work is a pièce de resistance to this series. The limitations and difficulties of shooting with film and printing in a darkroom reverted into (what digitally would have been) unthinkable opportunities of socializing, sharing, and discussing the work with other people, an attestation that the choice for analog media is not a mere output decision but also a form of engendering (social, physical, mental) presence.

Nicolau Spadoni is a Ph.D. candidate in German Studies.

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