A conversation about photography, nature and climate crisis with Anamaria Chediak
Time Space Existence is a biennial exhibition that serves as a platform for international architecture practitioners, photographers and artists to showcase their work. Here, participants have the opportunity to explore and present their unique techniques and perspectives on the intersection of time, space, and existence.
The Ecuadorian photographer Anamaria Chediak is driven by an insatiable curiosity for nature, born from her early explorations of the Andes and the Galapagos Islands. Her work has led her to travel across six continents, avidly capturing the essence of the cultures and natural worlds she encounters.
One of Anamaria’s most recent projects, titled “Memories Through the Liquid Desert Waves”, showcased in Palazzo Mora, serves as a reminder of nature’s ability to reclaim and reassert its dominion over what was once its territory. We asked Anamaria Chediak to tell us more about her background, her research in photography, and technical processes.
ECC Team: What can visitors find in your exhibition at Palazzo Mora and how it relates to the concept of Time Space Existence?
Anamaria Chediak: I am exhibiting my latest project at Palazzo Mora: “Memories Through the Liquid Desert Waves”. It’s a metaphor for nature regaining her territory, defeating human hubris. With a particular focus on abandoned places, I explore the role of memory and how our memories are organised in our minds, particularly with the passing of time.
As I mention in my project statement: “Where there was once life and chatter and colour, now there’s silence and sand, doors open with no purpose and windows hang on their hinges, glassless. These silent vestiges resonate with stories, memories, and questions… Nature has taken back what was once hers. The desert is merciless, irrepressible. It flows through everything, in waves that seem almost liquid.” Through my images, you move through visually-arresting Spaces around the world, places that keep changing over Time, while we live our own unique Existences.
As the environmental crisis has grown, I found myself employing photography as a tool for raising awareness and calling for change. Time is running out. We are living an environmental crisis. We are faced with unprecedented challenges. My purpose as a photographer is to remind us all of the responsibility we have in working together, to protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, restore threatened ecosystems, and preserve communities with their unique and diverse traditions as a cultural legacy.
ECC Team: Your inspiration comes by the exploration of different countries and cultures. How did you develop into the artist you are today?
Anamaria Chediak: Over the past fifteen years, my commitment to conservation has strengthened. My photographic work is both a very personal and quiet effort to retain my sense of awe for this world, our world, and a passionate call for us to respect, cherish and appreciate it. Having grown up in Ecuador, surrounded by the Andes, the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands, I was lucky: nature entered my skin, unconsciously, magically. I was also fortunate to have been taught to appreciate the natural world from a very young age.
In my life crossing more than sixty countries on six continents, I have had the privilege of witnessing the most awe-inspiring wild places. As I travel in search of pristine environments, I sometimes return to places I have already been, and unfortunately find them damaged or destroyed by ignorance and greed. I have seen towns abandoned to their fate, where the basic needs of their people are not even remotely covered. I have witnessed a planet that is losing species and integrity year after year, disappearing before my eyes, before the incredulous and indifferent gaze of its inhabitants and rulers.
But through my lens I have also witnessed the perfection of nature and the great tree of life. I have been able to get close and learn about successful programs created and developed to save species that are almost extinct. I have witnessed the rebirth of habitats that have almost disappeared, once again flourishing and full of life. When there is community and awareness, everything is possible, and these experiences are what I seek to transmit through my images.
ECC Team: The intuition of linking interior spaces with exterior landscapes is your peculiarity. Can you tell us more about the creative process behind the shots?
Anamaria Chediak: In this project, I focused on abandoned places, where nature, from my emotional point of view, reclaims and takes back what was once hers, her territory. In this project, memory plays a very important role, too. I enter these spaces and work to create my images. I feel that the interior and exterior merge together at some point in these physical spaces — in the same way that our life stories of our past, which no longer exist, and our present, merge together in our minds to create new memories, new realities.
Nature, time, space, memory and the role of our existence within this world have played an important role in the creative process of my latest series “Memories Through the Liquid Desert Waves” currently exhibited in Venice.
ECC Team: Your work is focused on the composition of many shots, could you tell us more about the technical process behind your artworks?
Anamaria Chediak: The creative process of this series is technically the most complex work I have created. Each image is the result of the composition of dozens of different shots, carefully stitched together, slowly and painstakingly in my studio. These spaces were impossible to photograph in one take, so I therefore worked on panoramic images. Each composition demanded multiple shots due to the challenges of the contrasting interior and exterior light, as well as my obsession for details, for each element to be perfectly focused, a crucial part of my storytelling of the spaces I encountered. The images’ pin-sharp focus makes every surface, every texture and detail important, and speaks of the feeling of time that I wanted to create. Had the backgrounds been out of focus, blurred, the impression the images would have created would have been entirely different.
The creative process of (re)composing is reminiscent of how we arrange memories in our minds. Memories are fleeting and fickle. We remake our pasts in the same way I have remade these images. That day in the desert, I stood struggling to make sense of these fleeting glimpses of a world now vanished, challenged to capture, through the mechanical click of a shutter, a moment in time that I felt had already passed.
ECC Team: Why was it important for you to participate in Time Space Existence?
Anamaria Chediak: The Architecture Biennale in Venice is one of the most important showcases for architectural and art concepts; projects and ideas that will impact positively on the need for cultural and natural conservation, so prescient today.
Presenting my latest work “Memories Through the Liquid Desert Waves” at Palazzo Mora, located in the heart of the cultural city of Venice, to an international audience — surrounded by incredible projects by amazing worldwide artists, photographers, architects, designers, developers, universities, engineering companies, emerging and established studios… all shaping the future and changing our vision of the planet — has been an honour and a privilege.
Check out the exhibition trailer here.