Photography: Color on Aluminium and Plastic.
"Unable to see, thus don’t want to be seen"
When we look upon the photographic pictures of a young photographer Jakub Skokan, in which he presented a sightless boy Lukas, we probably won’t escape the feeling, that the disappearing shape, the slow diminishing of the light and the fading of the colors of the pictures is some kind of a metaphor describing the little boy’s view of the world around. It seems as if the undertoned colors of the square format pictures together with the motion blurriness were, at a sensible viewer, augmenting the intensity of the phonetic and tactile effects evoked by the photography. We can hear rumbling and blowing of an incoming train, we can feel the bridge trebling and the dizziness of a marry-go-round, we can bear on mothers voice calling at the yard or the soft sound of a ball bouncing down the stairs. The freshness and elegancy of the authors visual tongue together with an extraordinary skill to feel oneself and at the same time not being sentimental, helped creating a series of photographs making a layered portrait of an extraordinary child.
And that is despite the fact, that the author keeps hiding away the face of the boy. Our inspective regards are fenced off by the falling ball, slide by the tilted head, they won’t reach him in the far distance, they’ll sink in the dim light, in which the boy is waded into. In a different shot, the photographer frames the view so that the face of the boy is out of our range. It seems that the by constant distraction of the viewfinder away from the boys head the author was trying to equalize the unfair position of the boy and the author, a kind of “unable to see, don’t want to be seen”.
Blurry figures who share the space with lukas on the canvas, only support the relativity of the evasive visible world, which is visually suppressed on the pictures.
People on the pictures, they are only voices from the exterior, the air stirred by a quick walking, the odor that vanishes away rapidly. Even in the shot, where the boy is sprung in the air with a dashing movement by his parents, his well focused figure is somehow frozen in midair, even thou the movement still carries on in the blurred hands that keep on holding him tight. Jakub Skokan anchors the boy in the center of the interest of the visual story and the attention of the viewer, without predicating him a conspicuous place in the center of the photography. It seems as if he inserted a limited timeless space in the flow of time, in which it is possible to levitate effortlessly, and which creates a new set of rules with its surprising dimension.
I’m in particular deeply touched by one of the photographs. It captures Lukas sitting by the table in the gloominess of the room. He sits turned towards the window, eyes closed, with the palm of hand he touches a cooling glass of water. On the table linen lays a snack and a houseplant in a pot. What happens beyond the window doesn’t seem to matter at the scene. The view to the garden with the figure mowing the grass is hazy and defined by the window frame. From the dusky room, the window glass appears as a framed picture with a landscape motive painted over with a thick layer of varnish. The boy “looks” at this picture, which is suddenly infinitely distant, just as I am looking right now at a picture, in which he appears. His face is lightened by it, but he can’t see this light. It may suddenly appear, that this transforms the perspective of the one observed to the one observing. It’s not us permeating through the square pictures and spectating on one boys life, which is sunk deep in his own darkness, but it’s him observing from his darkness with his inner vision a framed picture of a world unreal to him, which gets to him with the sound of a mower, which still stays beyond the glass that he’s touching.
Text: Lucia L. Fišerová
Keywords: playground, boy, blind boy, sightless, staged photography, child, children, lucas, unseeing, life, documentary photography