Suspending Time /Suspended Time- Photographs by Humberto Ríos
Laura González Flores
At first glance the photographs of Humberto Ríos seem like still lifes to us. And certainly, these images resemble those
of the Vanitas tradition of art history in which a perfect sense of harmony of forms and suspended time is achivied. What
matters heres is not to understand the images as "precise moments" which photography helps us detach from a larger narrative.
Nor are these just beautiful images of careful settings of significant objects, laden with poetry. Not empty but emptied, these images have the power to make us feel lack. Their fundamental aim, thus, is to display a gap, a split. To convey loss.
In these images, what we lose- and what we surprisingly gain in them- is Photography. Now out-date, visiting a
a photographer´s studio is a proper custom of our ancestors. It is them we see as chimeras in their clothing, their gestures, their
relationships and their desires. We project ourselves retrospectively into the emptiness of the image and fill it up with our stories. It is the anguish before the void ( the split and the lack) that sparks up our anxious imagination. But in these images, we have lost the actors, and we have failed their performances. What we now miss the most is Photography: a way of making " being" that has not endured time, but that still lives as an idea and a reference.
What is the gain in the photos of Humberto Ríos? In forcing us to look in reverse, delayed fashion, these images award us with time (or, at least, with a different sense of time). Contained within the void of the images there lays another possible aid for us besides that of seizing action: that of enjoying the slow movement of our gaze towards the depths of the image, to those very dark shadows where the borders of things are barely distinguished. In this lag of space and time, we discover an expanded mode of experiencing the event: a different way of going against the grain of todays´s speed, of designating our fragmented, twisted and imperfect role in the narrative of History. Undoubtedly, a bare human role.