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July 2004

Paz Errázuriz:
"I feel like an interpreter"

She says she´s surprised with the success of her new exhibit, opened at the same time as a new anthologhy of her work is being published. This is a key moment for a Chilean photographer with a deep artistic commitment and who has focused, precisely, all that´s out of the spotlight.

By Rosario Mena

Human beings, in their privacy and vital conditions, are shown here through a language that, according to the photographer, "turns from the documentary code to the emotional subjectivity".

That´s what seduces Paz Errázuriz' lens. We see circus performers, psychiatric patients, naked old people, or the last survivors of the kawesqar tribe. They´ve all been in front of her camera, building black and white series that capture their essence as persons.

Réplicas y sombras, Fotografía de Paz Errázuriz" (Replicas and shadows. The pictures of Paz Errázuriz) is the title of the exhibit open until October the 3rd at the Art Hall of Fundación Telefónica, with a selection of her work of the last twenty years. There´s also an installation with pictures of graves from all over Chile, which is part of an editorial project. A book of her work has just been published, with texts written by Arts critic Nelly Richard, journalist Claudia Donoso and historian Gonzalo Leiva.

—How do you chose the worlds you photograph?
—I believe they all have the same channel. There´s a formal and visual difference, but the base is always the same. It has to do with the posture one has towards life. Each work has its own shape, its own history, some are more urban and some are more distant. But it is always about what´s not at the spotlight nor at power´s core.

—Do you have any special method when working in these worlds?
—I´m not an anthropologist, but I do use several methods. It has to do with using informers, with the introduction I do of my work and the way I communicate with people.

—What´s your attitude when working? Do you have a specific aim or are you open to whatever it comes?
—The process is always complex, it has several stages, some close and some more distant, some more technical and some more emotional. It changes.

—What do you feel it happens with your pictures?
—I never think of who looks at my work. I work for myself. In this exhibit, which has been visited by a lot of people, I´m surprised of how warm people are, the things they tell me, and what they write. I believe that what people have is a chance of seeing something that was previously banned, and that is now shown through my pictures. I feel like an interpreter.

—How did you get to photography?
—I´ve always been a photographer. I wanted to study Art, but my parents would not let me, so I was a school teacher for six years. When I was working with children I started doing photos. I´ve been completely self-taught.

—Which are your current projects and challenges?
—Mi big challenge now is the book that has just been published, which is an anthology, a professional need. Mi ambition is to edit a book of a work-in-progress, called Memento Mori, and which collects pictures of graves.

"Réplicas y sombras, Fotografía Paz Errázuriz"

Sala Fundación Telefónica (Providencia 111, Santiago)
July 1ST to October 3RD
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am —20 pm.
Free of charge.

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