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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

HARBINGER


Jake Verzosa's HARBINGER Opening on March 15, Thursday at Silverlens Gallery

Take a straightforward portrait and turn it into something figurative, this is what photographer Jake Verzosa has demonstrated in his latest body of work whose title, Harbinger, was inspired by Magic the Gathering cards and other Role Playing Games. Or, as Verzosa put it simply, “I like the word.”

A fixture in the fashion industry, Verzosa presents the model, the very subject he is used to working with, in another light–as a vessel of form and movement. His images aim to document a figure in transition, to record what transpires when his subject is asked to interpret a series of cloud formations through movements across the canvas of the camera frame. Take a closer look at the hazy black and white images and you will discover distinct human forms juxtaposed alongside random storm cloud formations.

Verzosa’s latest images are a tight combination of a series of photographs he took in 2005 documenting cloud formations and a human body depicting movement in the form of top Philippine fashion model, Ria Bolivar. “I thought that it would be interesting to record human movement without any direction from the photographer. It should emerge from within the subject,” shares Verzosa.

It is evident in his works that a strong connection with the image, idea, and even the subject is a significant factor in Verzosa’s artistic process. Bits and pieces of the artist’s life are subtly displayed in this body of work–his success as a fashion and commercial photographer, his fascination with science, born during his high school days at Philippine Science school, and his personal inclination towards taking photographs rather than making them. “I usually use film for my personal works but for this body of work, since it involved a lot of trial and error in terms of capturing beautiful accidents, it made more sense to shoot in digital,” he adds.

This body of work does not aim to delve into deep definitions and solve unanswerable queries. In its truest sense, the exhibition is a profession and manifestation of form captured in the documentary and organic style which is always present in Verzosa’s work. “I do what I do because I feel the intrinsic need to document the odd and the beautiful. Change is always permanent and photography is my way of moving through time. I am motivated to do works that I feel are significantly larger than me.”

The 32-year-old Manila-based artist is inspired by other photographers, musicians, random conversations, and hearing success stories and seeing unusual beauty, and keen on shooting stories about beauty, culture, social issues and the human spirit. He is busy with his family, commercial work, and a long-term project documenting the last tattooed women of Kalinga. He has traveled extensively around Southeast Asia and his works have been exhibited in Manila, Singapore, and Paris.

Jake Verzosa’s Harbinger opens on March 15, 2012 at Silverlens Gallery, simultaneously with Pow Martinez’s Cyborg Scallops at Silverlens SLab and Maria Taniguchi’s Untitled (Celestial Motors) in Silverlens 20SQUARE. All shows run until April 14, 2012.

Words by Monica Barretto; Image: Jake Verzosa, Harbinger #1, 2005 (left) Harbinger #2, 2012 (right)

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