Chile | Fotografía | Felipe Lavín

Geometric photography

The city could be viewed from below as an enclosure that grows by branching out and expanding like a tree in the forest. It could also be viewed as a geometric grouping, full of cubes and spaces to fill as a little bit of the environment, with a little bit of the sky. Felipe Lavín works with these spaces and transforms the gaze into absolute geometry.

The city is chaotic in the eyes of those who walk its streets, amazedly looking at the skyscrapers and buildings that grow like trees within these spaces that are already closed off with endless walls. Some things catch our eye, such as gardens, parks and the few patches of sky that we manage to see. Among these things, there is a photographer that walks the streets with a camera in his hand, and that travels in search of an image that will allow him to disfigure reality and play with geometry.

Felipe Lavín, at 28 years old, remembers photography being present in his life since he was just a boy with a disposable Kodak camera, which he used to try to immortalize everything that his eyes could see. “My first encounters with photography were through the pictures that my parents used to take. Later, I remember my first camera which they gave me when I was 11,” says the artist. “I was always the photographer among my friends, I took my camera everywhere. At around 16 I had my first digital camera and from there I never stopped taking photos,” he explains as he looks back on the past when the opportunity to play with images was yet to be a reality. Now, unlike his first shots as a teen, his work is thoroughly planned out and requires selecting a scene, a few snapshots and the enjoyment that capturing reality with a camera involves. Apart from this, it also requires staging at times. “I make digital montages in order to create series like   , where I use photography with a geometric pattern in order to unite the same form axially,” he explains.

From form to angles

In the 20s’, geometric abstraction was created which was an art trend that set out to distance itself from the pieces’ emotional content as much as possible through a critical discourse that exalts the representation of three-dimensional reality. Simple compositions subjectively combined in unreal spaces have lead to the endless creation of works of art that span all techniques, from painting, sculpture, installations and, even, photography. And that reality, that way of creating and showing the world, found its way to Felipe Lavín’s hands. “When I began taking more abstract photographs of buildings a lot of geometric patterns appeared. For example, the triangles that were repeated in many structures when looking at them from a certain angle,” he says.

However, the urban spaces that Felipe photographs seem to be random, since they gradually appear before your eyes as you go through the streets, roads, alleys and avenues: “It is as if an alarm goes off that tells me when and where I should take photos. I really like cities like New York, where the modern architecture invades the city, but also I am captivated by other urban spaces,” explains Felipe. It is here, in this path where images emerge that he will later put together in front of a computer. Regarding this, he comments: “I don’t intervene in most of the pieces, therefore, you could say that they are finished once the shutter clicks, except when I make some color adjustments in the final process. However, I modify them to create symmetry. It is a process of repetition where I make selections, and I finish the work once it makes me visually calm and pleased at the same time, where I feel a perfect harmony.”

Kandinsky has served as a guide for his work, being one of the forefathers of geometric abstraction, who also played with elements that could be seen in urban photography. The patterns and geometry that are generated through different visible structures in the city are ennobled in the eyes of this photographer, who has managed to mix his passions to photograph them: him, a civil engineer, aficionado of architecture and buildings, captures them with his camera to distort them, or to show the immensity and grandeur that a 2D image can capture in each piece. “I tend to be very organized, which is why I really like to see perspectives, reflections, lines and symmetry. They are images that fascinate me and produce a kind of connection and feeling,” he explains.

Thus, by mixing order, balance and harmony, Felipe Lavín finishes a piece after making different trials. Because the image isn’t finished until the artist decides it is, until reality is seen as envisioned by the artist who takes the shot under the sky, before the millions of spaces that we see every day whilst walking among thousands of people who ignore that very environment that creates a work of art after passing through certain person’s eyes.



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