INSIDE THE BLACK AND WHITE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHER FLOR GARDUNO By Sandra Castillo
Her visions are an amalgamation of another universe, where the people and landscapes are shrouded in the contemplations of her ruminations. She, the visual composer of her introspections, relinquishes them only to the notion that she is, first and foremost, a renowned artist whose desire to share her craft with others is what most purveyors of her ilk do; however, the world of photographer Flor Garduno exists solely on the premise of her willingness to open her eyes and capture those dreamscapes of her imagination, so that others may see what she sees and breathes.
Flor Garduno’s photographic exhibition, Trilogy, is currently the main feature at the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. It incorporates nearly one-hundred images from three dramatic themes-the best of her work unfolds in the showcases of Bestiarium, Silent Natures and Fantastic Women, where the viewer is able to take an intimate stroll through the musings of her mind.
Garduno hails from Mexico and is considered to be one of that country’s most celebrated and respected photographers. Although she has established herself as a visionary with a camera, it must be noted that the pursuit of photography was not always her first choice as an occupation. Earlier on in her life, her expression of self came through the usage of pens and paints, when she originally desired to become a painter instead.
In 1977, Garduno studied at the San Carlos School of Fine Art. As a student there, she met two individuals, Hungarian war photographer Kati Horna and Latin American artist Manuel Alvarez Bravo, both of whom became her mentors. Horna was instrumental in assisting Garduno to explore the larger world around her, mainly through observing the cultures of surrealism, feminism and social status amongst the different classes of Mexico’s infrastructures. Bravo was her guide in teaching her the fundamental importance of maximizing her technical skills needed to improve and further her craft. He also impressed upon her the significance of being self-disciplined and persistent, while never allowing herself to give up. This direction from Horna and Bravo ultimately had a lasting impact on the young artist and her creative output.
Garduno photographs still life, nudes, landscapes and the indigenous people of the rural areas of Mexico. Her work is on permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Library of Paris and the Louis Museum of Cologne. She prefers to work in black and white which envelopes her images in a provocative, albeit ethereal ambience. A wash of natural light illuminates her portraits, anointing them in the enigma of their own mysticism. Garduno gives credence to the notion that life, no matter the circumstances of the moment, is sacred and worth its revelation through the art of photography.
For more information on Flor Garduno’s exhibition, which runs now through May 29th, please visit www.mopa.org.