She looks into me (and I look into myself)
From an early age, the female existence is something deeply experienced through the body. In my view, the body presents itself in life sooner than in men and with a different strength – either by how we see it and interact with it, either by (pre)conceptions that others want to apply to it. Nevertheless, it continues to be a slippery entity. When we reach a level of acceptance and knowledge, it changes. Or our own perspective and expectations about it are the ones that end up transmuted. Perhaps this hide-and-seek game starts to slow down with the years and we are able to dwell in our skin for longer – the right skin at the right moment, making the most out of it in the best way. However, the most constant perception is that this cartridge will grow old and we will never use it to its full-fledged potential. We are always trying to grab the body while this tries to run away. Or, perhaps, it’s showing us the right way.
Despite the escapism, my skin has proved to be an increasingly comfortable space. The confrontation with one’s own image is one of the tools that can be used to establish this new path. Exposing ourselves in front of a camera is a way to be more aware of the contours of our body. It’s to learn how to recognize the strengths and acknowledge the oddness about it. Like in love, this is a game that changes depending on the partner – in this case, the photographer. But it is also a personal clash with that object called camera, bizarre and invasive, imposing itself in front of us without having a pupil to return our glance. The body reveals itself precisely in this dark room, somewhere between the Machine and the Man, in a place that forces us to see (ourselves) in another way.
It’s like a two-person relationship, where there is always a third element: the dynamics of our own body. The gaze of the other can change everything, it can appease, nurture, but there are always moments when the dialogue is just ours. Facing a camera is like that as well, in a process of recognition, construction and (de)construction – being, becoming, unbecoming. The photograph as an object is the crystallization of that moment and the starting point for a journey continuously rich in revelations about our identity.
Somehow, that is the cornerstone process of Nuno Moreira’s brand-new book, She Looks into Me. Through a dance between the shadows and the body, there is a three-chapter exploration (Being, Becoming, Unbecoming) on the greatest mystery of the collective and individual identity – the cycles of life and death. Symbolic aspects, representative of how we relate to each other, are entangled in the simplification of the body forms and in the fluctuations of gestures and shadows.
She Looks into Me is a photographic series conceived as in the theater. The title derives from a poem of the surrealist Paul Éulard, which opens the book, thus suggesting the immersive nature of the photographs.
This is Nuno Moreira’s third picture-book. It follows Zona (2015), in which the photographer had the collaboration of the writer José Luís Peixoto. In this new study, the text is authored by Adolfo Luxúria Canibal, who, through keywords, alludes to the intimate universe of the pictures contained in the book.
The edition limited to 200 copies can be purchased on the photographer’s website: nmphotos.org or at the Bookstore of the Berardo Museum, Almedina (Gulbenkian) or Livraria Serralves.