Interview | Taysa Jorge

For me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs solitude to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others’ thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself.
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The first photograph I saw of Taysa Jorge was a self-portrait taken from behind. It intrigued me. That morning I was talking to a friend of mine.

I asked him, "What do we do now?"

He said, "Let’s go outside, on the roof, to see the rainbow."

Right after that, I saw the picture. A coincidence maybe.  

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I was looking at Taysa Jorge’s work while listening to an old album by Sigur Rós: Valtari. I thought this was the perfect soundtrack for her images. The same riff. Her shots use a contemporary language, they transmute it, steeped in universal feelings that are much more deep and intense than those we are used to feeling. Her shots are an immersive experience. 

Many of your images look like quiet summer nights. In these represented nights I can feel a sought-after loneliness, which is never inflicted. A beautiful loneliness, if I may say. 

Please tell us about this ancient, gut and powerful loneliness.

Yeah, for me loneliness is not a bad thing… I’m a person that needs it to put my thoughts in order and to understand my feelings, in society we are surrounded by others' thoughts, judgements, ideas… I need these places and moments to let my soul speak, to discover who I am and what I want by myself. And there’s a quote from Séneca that I always loved, it says: “Solitude is not to be alone, but to be empty.”

The places in your pictures look like places you are comfortable, as if you are feeling at home.  The sky, the sea, the stars, the void, the infinite. “And thence we came forth to see again the stars” comes to mind, which Dante wrote in The Divine ComedyWould you be willing to tell us about these breathtaking places?

I truly believe that everything is connected, everything is the same thing… So you’re right, the sky, the sea, the nature makes me feel at home… I like to think that my soul, before its human form, before this world exists, was travelling freely the universe. Maybe if I wasn't human, my soul could be a wave in the ocean, or the wind blowing someone's hair. It can sound fanciful but that’s how I like to think.

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In your work there’s often a female solitary figure. Sometimes you are that woman, other times that woman is your alter-ego, but this makes very little difference: she could look like anyone, really. These lovely female figures are captured in a lone world-ending dance, they could be anyone, as they indeed are. Your landscapes could be everywhere. They look like universal concepts. There’s never a "Here and Now", there’s never a female figure but the Female Figure, never a place but the Place. Would you like to tell us about these themes in your work?

I’m still trying to decode what it means to me, you’re right, it could be anyone in anywhere. I think for me it represents what I was talking about before, a soul in nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The connection between everything, also my loneliness, the need to discover and get far from everything to know myself better.

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In your work the colour tones alternate from blue to magenta. In every shade. Very oneiric. Like a delightful sequence of dreamscapes. Why these colour palettes?

Blue gives me the feeling of isolation and calm at the same time… And the magentas/pinks speaks about a strong but delicate person. That's how I see myself. I’m open to investigate other tones, sooner or later. I think my photographs will keep changing always depending on the moment in my life.

How important is the digital post-production in your work? When you shoot do you already know what you will do in post-production?

Very important, sometimes post-production is the 50% for me, and many times inspiration comes in front of the computer instead of the camera… I really enjoy editing with Photoshop, I love to take pictures during the afternoon, after the sunset when it’s still light, and make it looks like nights, that way I can play with the lights and sometimes I get nice results, mostly for landscapes and in that cases I know what I’ll do in post-production when I’m shooting. Instead when I shoot portraits I have no idea what I’m gonna make in post-production, I like to shoot natural and free movements of the person and later when I see the pictures I feel inspired and I can add birds, or make a double exposure, or change the sky…

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Projects for the future?

I have many ideas, and things that I’d like to do… But nothing clear still. All I can say is I want to keep travelling, knowing and learning professionally and personally.

Please suggest a movie, a novel, a song, a photographer. Just say what comes to your mind first.

Movie: Edward Scissorhands
Novel: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Song: Window - HVOB
Photographer: Duane Michals

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Sum your work up in three words.

Deep, personal and mysterious.

And now the hardest question: why do you take photographs?

Because photography allows me to understand myself and the world better. I need to express something, and by creating an image I can both let go of and preserve my emotions at the same time.