Review by Douglas Stockdale •
Looking at the photographs of Jordi Barreras’s photobook, Already But Not Yet, one might mistakenly think that his project was created during the COVID pandemic revealing singular individuals in a vacant megalopolis. Only after close inspection and noting the missing masks, which is a hint, that this is probably not true. This series was developed just prior to this event while the slow down during the pandemic allowed for this body of work to simmer and fully develop.
Barreras reveals a stark urban and man-built landscape that appears to be only thinly populated. Only the base sections of the surrounding building are included within his pictorial frame and the truncated structures in conjunction with the deep and massive shadows imply their huge size. There are few, if any, indications as to which city or cities this series was completed or even in which country it takes place. There appears a universal sameness to big cities structures and this series has that any-citynesss about it.
His documentary style captures a single person who are surrounded by dark shadows cast by the towering buildings, which elicit a sense of isolation and loneliness. His subjects appear diminutive and small in scale to the surrounding structures, as though symbolically being oppressed. The strong sun light among these shadowlands’ hints of an earlier Rembrandt period, but these photographs are more contemporary and cinematic that imparts a sense of film noir.
A momentary spot light shines on his subject’s lives. They are captured standing, pausing to talk on a mobile phone or having a smoke, appearing lost in the moment, perhaps with their arms folded, or sitting on an unyielding concrete curb, while others are in process of walking from one set of shadows to another. As they walk, his subjects also appear to be resigned to their fate with a slight roundness of shoulders that project a sense of dejection.
Individuals appear to be basking in the warm natural sunlight, a momentary break from the many hours working in an artificial light with homogenized and processed air. They are afforded a momentary freedom, but unlike the birds if released from their cages, they do not fly away. Behaving perhaps more like cattle in that they eventually will drift back into their pens.
Nevertheless, that his subjects are illuminated by the intense sunlight, and are not lost among the shadows, I find that this series also imparts a small amount of hope and perhaps not all is lost (yet).
Douglas Stockdale is the Senior Editor and founder PhotoBook Journal
Already But Not Yet, Jordi Barreras
Photographer: Jordi Barreras, where born Santa Coloma de Gramanent (Barcelona) Spain and resides in London, UK
Publisher: Punctum Editizioni, Rome Italy, copyright 2020
Essays: Stephanie Schwartz, Flavia Loscialpo and Víctor Pérez Ballesteros.
Hardcover, gatefolds, 64 pages, blue tipped pages, with a list of works, cm. 28×18,8, printed by Varigrafia Alto Lazio srl, Italy, ISBN: 978-88-95410-63-0
Photobook Designer: Eva Barreras
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