In “The Gray Rye”, everything happens in the urban space. The series was elaborated as a register of displacements of the artist Natália Tonda. Her initial idea was to photograph daily life elements as well as places where she used to pass through. Acting as a foreigner in her hometown, São Paulo, Tonda reinvents her path and casts way of looking at what used to be unobserved. Always in black and white and capturated by the cellphone, her photos are part of exercises involving her regards and edition processes. In her images, the incididental does not draw any line without being transformed in atitude.
When capturing the images, she modifies anodyne elements of the public space such as light posts, eletricity columns, satellite antennas, and security cameras; and a circular passage can become a vortex that carries us towards buildings on the backround. The urban infra-structure is then seen with its verticals, inclinations, forms, and variable angles as elements able to conduct our look, as signs that guide us. These objects have their existence reinvented, they are transformed in interesting and compelling compositive elements. An antenna can be a light source; a car surface can be a mirror; and a rear view mirror can frame three sisters who walk together on the street.
Nevertheless, the images are not concerned with those objects, buildings or people. The street is merely the stage as what trully concerns Tonda is the manner we look at them. Not coincidentally, Natália looks up and takes us along in the discovery of a new horizon. In our daily commute, we look forward or down at most. Her attitude is like a deviation from the previously outlined route, an escape that shows a more than contemplative outlet, able to transform high voltage powerlines in abstract constructions. This is also how the photographer takes the sky out of the background role, turning it into the primary space (some images makes us think of Alfred Stieglitz’ series “Equivalents”).
The series inspires while also binding us as we need to stick calmly to each photograph. Although they might cause a quick impression, we are led to contemplate and unveil all the layers that constitute the images. There are multiple elements, lines of composition, and texture created by the grains that cross and blend. By choosing the term “rye” for the title, an approximation is proposed: the artist is largely concerned with what composes the photographic practice and her investigation verges to what is essential to the construction of images. Her look is curious and attentive, but at the same time, remains open to the imagination of each new observer.
Always looking upwards as looking ahead is ordinary.
* To find more of the series "The Gray Rye," visit thegrayrye.tumblr.com