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THE STRANGER WITHIN US
Sylvio Sandino
A wavering sea of strangers pass by a single frame, the shutter clicks and suddenly life appears still, unmoved, pronounced in totality - the moment as it once existed. Frozen life remains statuesque in its emotional depth - a tense hand, tightly bound fingers, clutched in it a fatigued cigarette. Another blink of the shutter, entrapped in digital ember, another passing stranger, a lonesome mother, hardened work beaten father, a sister, brother, a friend, all susceptible to the dimension of their existence.
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The sound of the shutter echoes throughout the street and another stranger is captured in their moment of reality. A spectrum of differing faces reveal the undermining turmoil of their personal character. Each frozen visage and limb, a secret hidden in an image preserved in time; strangers never seen again, left only for our imaginations to decide our assumptions of their daily lives. Who were they? What were their lives like? We are only left with an atom of the whole, a subtle clue as to who this person was; an immensely acute window into their fleeting existence, an ever fading clue of limited evidence.
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His photography adds a spotlight on a single subject, a lone stranger in an act of human spontaneity. The subject always appears as a ghost to the living present; a person lost in self contemplation and thought. Through the photograph, one can feel the passage of meandering attention, deliberation of the persons own personal existence always feels present in his photography.“With every press of the shutter, I attempt to capture the infinitely minuscule moment of reality when the stranger breaks from the world and dives into the depths of their own lives. In this moment, they become lost in a way, within their existence and its really a moment you feel, not really see.” Strong contrasts in black and white, deeply pronounced dark tones and crisps whites set the mood for the subject. His photography is often sharpened to an extent of harshness to reveal the raw center of the subject frozen in moment. His play of light and shadow, soft and gritty, places the strangers in a spotlight of real human, tired emotion.
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A strong interest in observing strangers arose from the close study of individuals from an entirely different field - performing arts. Sylvio Sandino began sharpening his attention to the details of street photography by studying the mannerisms, facial expressions, and subtle actions of those whom he observed every day for the study of acting; every single moment was noted, absorbing every ounce of movement and feeling from each person. Producing this similar feeling in a colorless photograph to a viewer became the ultimate goal of his work. The embodiment of the human condition and our own self-reflection is a prevalent theme in his work. “There is a special feeling I always experienced whenever I contemplated strangers; their gestures and following actions, whenever I see their lives continuously render in the present life, without my interruption. As I observe my subjects question their own actions, I question my own. If you really take the time and feel the moment, it becomes a part of you”.
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