About a great photographer, Reto Halme.

The scene of a painting by Andrew Wyeth, "Christina's world" (1) has always caused me a certain uneasiness. I have never been able to dissociate it from the first time I saw it in the MoMA, partly because of my memory of the context of that first time. I suppose my surprise at the silence that the rural landscape scene of the painting transpires, in contrast to the urban frenzy of the street I had been in a few minutes earlier, conditions my memory of it. Edward Hooper's paintings reproduce similar scenes. However in this case, his enigmatic attraction to the loneliness of individuals and the thoughts in which they seem to be immersed is contrasted with certain coldness, alien to reality, of the settings which welcome the people.

In comparison with this world of cold shivers, of silent witnesses or of settings, Reto Halme's photographs reflect frozen reality. Ontological realities in which their people sometimes do not appear and yet the existence of the places is perceived in them, places in the sense expressed by Yi Fu Tuan, places which emerge because the individuals who inhabit them interact with the space and give it an identity.

Retro Halme does not prepare any setting in these images; his photographs only depend on time, a time which his eye checks at the time of pressing the button on the camera. His people are alive and Reto accentuates this view by moving the camera which is not anchored to a tripod. The images often have a high level of abstraction when he leaves the diaphragm open for some seconds or minutes and they become notaries of a time accumulated in different layers. The light which Reto introduces into his photographs in a wonderful way, does not touch the volumes but rather surrounds them, evaporates among them, succeeding in becoming part of the material which constitutes the landscape.

The reality which Reto Halme shows us does not consist of prepared compositions. The only composition depends on the time at which his eye decides to stop and show us a broken reality, which is an unsweetened but hot reality in which places are perceived or in which the absence of people does not produce voids, but rather times. Its cities and architectures are tattooed by the flows, the movement and the trails of the people who inhabit them, giving them identity and transforming spaces into places.

His images also make me uneasy, but they are also capable of showing me a reality which one can be a part of, and where the distant cold I mentioned at the beginning, in Reto's case is broken by a boiling reality which makes you more than a mere observer, an actor participating in the reality observed.

Text.- José Juan Barba.


(1)_Andrew Wyeth, "Christina's World", 1948, is in the MoMA in New York.

- Places In The Interior. New York - Los Angeles. USA | Reto Halme.
published in: M-023 | A.09 | p.66.


Reto Halme, born in Finland, Reto began his fashion photography career in Madrid, has worked extensively in New York and Los Angeles.

His work is often characterized by somber sensuality with ambient urban night settings.

He targets a film-still style, which creates authenticity in his work. He understands fashion photography more as a way to capture key fragments of ongoing time and reality, not only as trend-scouting.