Borderline Beautiful

    Photography as a means of therapy

    by Agata Cardoso

    I am a passionate maker of the photographic image. Using traditional practice, a black and white roll of film and my Bronica SQA have been my permanent companions for the last eight years. Together they allow me to express myself through the medium of lens-based art. My subject matter is primarily the body, the damaged body, the unusual, the unacceptable, the strange and alluring; in conjunction with my dreams and nightmares, my work is of a distressed darkness. It is at times difficult for the viewer to accept – my imagery has been embraced, rejected, censored, met with repulsion, but also with love and compassion.

    There are three specific stages to my practice where there is opportunity to express myself, where the unconscious internal self can develop my ideas freely: the concept, which is usually constructed weeks before, then the processing of the latent image and the final print production. It is the post production of the initial concept that I prefer working on the most, the development and printing, the wet processes. It is during these stages that I create illusions with the film, and with playing with the emulsion I am constantly researching ways in which the image behaves during the phase of development.

    I distress my imagery, burn the film, melt the emulsion, freeze it, scratch it and use many other means. They become part of me and are final pieces in themselves, but I continue to work on this ‘distress’- to research and develop these techniques. This creates one-off artefacts. Often being unable to recreate what you have made is what makes this formula so interesting. I move away from perfection of the perfect technical print, the beautiful, perfect, spotless photograph. Away from what is acceptable.
    My practice has been a source of sanity replacing insanity. Photography allows me a certain type of self-expression in times of need. I have used photography as a therapeutic tool, and it remains a form of expression for me that keeps alive an internal truth; my ideals expressed outwardly.


    On the theme of CLOSER, Spring 2013