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Matinee: Isabel Munoz Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

4 August 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 161st in our series of Saturday matinees today: Isabel Muñoz.

This 4:45 video produced for Epson by Pablo Modrego may seem like a campaign piece at first glance but the sales pitch is unusually subdued, letting Spanish photographer Isabel Muñoz shine through as the star.

We'd never considered slipping out of our Cushes and into some flippers, a wet suit and scuba gear to sink into the deep end of a pool with a copy stand's worth of photo gear to shoot a nude tangled in textiles. But after seeing the photographer in action, we almost wish Muñoz would offer a workshop on her method.

Almost. Because what she does is what she does. And it is refreshing to hear her describe her approach to the game. Especially since she does so in a clear and brilliant Spanish, easily followed in the English subtitles.

'Every human being sees the world in a different light.'

Muñoz, who was born in Barcelona in 1951, has lived in Madrid since 1970.

Her works are in the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and private collections. In addition to the images on her site, LensCulture published a selection of her World Press winning series on the Surma people of Ethiopia in Close but Impenetrable: Portraits of Tribes From Southern Ethiopia.

She has been awarded the Spanish Ministry of Culture Gold Medal to Fine Arts in Spain (2009), two World Press Photo prizes (a 2000 second prize and 2004 third prize), Bartolomé Ros Prize (PHotoEspaña 2009), the Biennial of Alexandria Gold Medal (1999), first prize in photography by Comunidad de Madrid (2006), the UNICEF Spain Awareness Rasing Award in 2010 and Fundación DEARTE (2012).

The video highlights the intimate physical detail of her work. And that's enhanced by the size of her Epson prints. She prints big. Very big.

But the first scene takes place in the darkroom as she chases after a dense black. Then the video shifts to color. In the pool. And away you go. Where you didn't expect to be this morning.

"Every human being sees the world in a different light," she says. "In my case, I am looking for the other, to tell their truth: and give voice to their truth. Because it is their truth."

Ah, truth. And beauty by its side.


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