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, Los Angeles and Berlin.
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.
New York Fashion Stories – TV documentary about Reto’s work as 2001.
1 A timeline. Reto Halme Fashion diaries
2 “PLACES IN THE INTERIOR” II. RETO HALME
José Juan Barba (1964) graduated from ETSA Madrid in 1991. Special Mention in the National Finishing University Education Awards 1991. PhD in Architecture ETSAM, 2004. He founded his professional practice in Madrid in 1992 (www.josejuanbarba.com), he is architecture critic and editor-in–chief of METALOCUS magazine since 1999, he was advising different NGOs until 1997. He has been a lecturer (in Design, Theory and Criticism, and Urban planning) and guest lecturer at different national and international universities (Roma TRE, Polytechnic Milan, ETSA Madrid, ETSA Barcelona, UNAM Mexico, Univ. Iberoamericana Mexico, University of Thessaly Volos, FA de Montevideo, Washington, Medellin, IE School, U.Alicante, Univ. Europea Madrid, UCJC Madrid, ESARQ-U.I.C. Barcelona,…).
Maître de Conférences IUG-UPMF Grenoble 2013-14. Full assistant Professor, since 2003 up to now at the University of Alcalá School of Architecture, Madrid, Spain. And Jury in competitions as Quaderns editorial magazine (2011), Mies van der Rohe Awards, (2010-2019), Europan13 (2015). He has been invited to participate in the Biennale di Venezia 2016 as part “Spaces of Exception / Spazi d’Eccezione”.
He has published several books, the last in 2016, “#positions” and in 2015 “Inventions: New York vs. Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, Piranesi ” and collaborations on “Spaces of Exception / Spazi d’Eccezione”, “La Mansana de la discordia” (2015), “Arquitectura Contemporánea de Japón: Nuevos territorios” (2015)…
– Award. RENOVATION OF SEGURA RIVER ENVIRONMENT, Murcia, Sapin, 2010.
– First Prize, RENOVATION GRAN VÍA, “Delirious Gran Vía”, Madrid, Spain, 2010.
– First Prize, “PANAYIOTI MIXELI Award”. SADAS-PEA, for the Spreading of Knowledge of Architecture Athens, 2005.
– First Prize, “SANTIAGO AMÓN Award,” for the Spreading of Knowledge of Architecture. 2000.
– Award, “PIERRE VAGO Award.” ICAC -International committee of Art Critics. London, 2005.
– First Prize, C.O.A.M. Madrid, 2000. Shortlisted, World Architecture Festival. Centro de Investigación e Interpretación de los Ríos. Tera, Esla y Orbigo, Barcelona, 2008.
– First Prize. FAD AWARD 07 Ephemeral Interventions. “M.C.ESCHER”. Arquin-Fad. Barcelona, Sapin