Isolation and Intimacy: Andrea Modica’s “As We Wait”
We were lucky enough to get a copy of Andrea Modica’s latest book release As We Wait before official publication later this summer. As fans of Modica’s previous projects including Treadwell, Best Friends and Human Being, we were certainly not disappointed in her latest outing. Now we’re even more excited for her workshop ‘Faces and Places‘ in Tuscany this summer. See for yourself!—ONWARD
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As We Wait, Philadelphia-based photographer Andrea Modica’s newest release, is a collection of previously unpublished photographs curated by the prolific Larry Fink. Her work is spacious, graphically as well as conceptually. Fink and Modica share a penchant for environmental portraiture, presenting their subjects as sensual and feeling beings in the spaces they inhabit. All are treated with the same scrutiny—human, horse, cat, leaf, shirt—elevated by both a sense of solitude and the knowledge that nothing exists in isolation.
Fink draws from a number of individual portfolios here–portraits, still lifes, landscapes, as well as her current work, the phenomenal horse project. Often these project categories blur. Fink’s arrangement of Modica’s malleable portfolio makes leafing through the book effortlessly moving. The vast majority of the photographs included have never been published; even fewer have been seen in an exhibition setting.
The subjects in As We Wait exist not just in the present but the spaces before and after. Objects–a wrinkled shirt or a dirty spoon–show traces of their utility and the passage of time, a connection to another being that is absent in the picture. Living subjects show the same traces of past wear, in their faces or gestures. Modica’s platinum printing is superb, a careful play of soft light, delicate detail and deep shadow. This only further accentuates the feeling that these pictures were taken in a realm just slightly separate from reality, like a dream watched through sheer curtains.
Fink says in his introduction, “This is a work which has a soft edge…everything is suspended but at the same time heavy.” All of the subjects’ gestures seem effortless and natural, yet carry an immense weight of meaning. Fink’s fluid sequencing of work from an array of Modica’s projects is well executed and helps create a unifying and rising narrative of what it’s like to exist in the world, living or not. It slowly, steadily reaches a boil, then cools off.
Many of the subjects are sitting down or reclining. The camera democratizes them, placing all of them on the same level (men and women on their chairs and sofas, horses on beds of straw, dogs on the ground at their masters’ feet). Their restful poses allow for a different kind of action, not physical but emotional dynamism.
It would be remiss not to mention the quality work done by Italian printers L’Artiere Editions, whose attentive craftsmanship truly brings these pictures off the pages. There is a depth of tone and a subtlety of texture that is immersive and intoxicating. The book is easy to appreciate lightly because of its material quality and aesthetic beauty, but also invites a far more involved and fruitful process of discovery. Thick with a sense of mystery, the reward is less a concrete conclusion and more the journey itself.
As We Wait will be available summer 2015, published by L’Artiere Editions, Italy. Please see Andrea Modica’s website for information on acquiring the book.
About Andrea Modica
Andrea Modica is an MFA graduate from Yale University, Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Scholar. Her works have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and Newsweek, and can be found in permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Andrea currently resides in Philadelphia where she is a professor of photography at Drexel University.
ONWARD is based in Philadelphia, PA, providing useful resources for photographers of all walks of life–from Grant Writing Tips to Getting Gallery Shows. ONWARD also provides educational opportunities for photographers like the Global Mentorship Program, a year-long course geared towards the completion of a long-term project. Andrea Modica will also be offering her workshop Faces and Places in Tuscany, Italy this summer, brought to you by Project Basho. Want to get more updates about the photography world? Join the ONWARD community!