Pressed Against

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A developing series:

“Draw what you see, not what you know…” was a phrase I heard several times from really great drawing/painting instructors. It was a way for me to relate to the world balancing the lines of the subjective/objective, real and imaginative. Being an artist allows me the eyes to see physical objects in space, the hands to feel materials in conversation, colors to taste, sounds to experience. I may have very well just described the human experience, just as much as the artist yearning. I wrote in my sketchbook before, during and now after the photo sessions. I talk about a hope to intimately understand what I yearn to know. A small bit from the sketchbook:

These photoshoots make me realize how beautiful people are. I know beautiful people. I love the privilege to immortalize their smile, eyes, faces, hair, skin. I am fascinated. I am left feeling that I wish I were all of them at once so beautiful, and whole, and full.

In doing this series, that is still in progress, I became very interested in the relationship between myself and my subjects, the people in front of my camera, the space between myself and them. Did I somehow embody the object they held? The transparency, the gestures, the vulnerability, the environment were all factors that became just as much the suspension of thought as the visual embodiment of that thought itself.

In part, the environmental factor: the light, the submersion in nature, the abstraction of the face that occurred as a result of the self directed gesture of pressing an object against skin, all of those things became part of the relationship between myself as the photographer/documenter and the individuals involved. I gave a simple suggestion: press this against your face. They responded, and proposed their own gestures…

Now on to making a succinct “artist” statement. Well, that is also still in the making.


Transparency, gestures, vulnerability, relationships and the environment are factors of thought and conversation. The thought is a question of light and affect.

In part, the environmental factor: the light, the submersion in nature, the minimal abstraction of a subject, become the center of narrative.


About Silvia Gonzalez

Photographer Teaching Artist
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