Ruth Orkin, a photographer with a vocation for filmmaking
The exhibition 'The Illusion of Time' by Ruth Orkin offers a glimpse into the career of the American photographer, beyond her best-known works. Open to the public until 6 November at Kutxa Kultur Artegunea.
Pursuing a career as a filmmaker in the US in the first half of the 20th century was an obstacle course for women. Women were in charge of nurturing the industry of dreams, but not of making them, so all professional careers behind the camera were incontestably destined for men. Ruth Orkin had to give up her vocation, or at least redirect it, transform it; and this setback will probably cause her photographic work to be precisely what it is.
If we analyse Orkin's work in this exhibition, the ghost of cinema appears in different forms right from his first images. It creeps into the tiny fissures of the frame and generates a double background in the image in which the flow of movement begins its tempo. A spark, a trace that contains within itself a "film effect", a "duration effect", a simulated duration like an invisible trick of cinema, because, in the end, isn't cinema the art of movement produced from stillness?
Orkin never failed to combine the temporal qualities of the photographic image to simulate cinema. Sequences, decomposition of movement, duplication, simultaneity, his visual language lies at the confluence of the photographic image and cinema, at the crossroads of stillness and movement. Orkin's photography is a place of miscegenation, a space that restores time and movement, pushing photographic language beyond its limits until it yields to the power of illusion and magic.
Ruth Orkin had to give up her vocation, and this setback probably caused her photographic work to be precisely as it is.
The exhibition is articulated along 4 axes that allow us to understand the debt of Ruth Orkin's photographs to cinema: A Dynamic Gaze, Unfolding and Simultaneity, Sequences, and Storyboard and Photonovel.
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