Paola Coda photograph
Paola Coda

Photography, Painting

Sometimes life seems fragile — our individual lives as well as Life on this planet. And yet I see strength and vitality all around me: bold lines and colors; ebullience in the way light reflects off different surfaces; order and purpose in the way cracks, rivers and seams create patterns and texture; balance as well as tension between different materials. And I think — if the small things that our world is built upon are strong, then the world itself must be strong as well. And that, in turn, gives me strength.

I try to capture that life-affirming strength. Much pf my work focuses on strong materials like rocks, concrete, and hard surfaces or tries to highlight a strong/bold aspect of a fragile object. But I am also interested in the uniqueness of the world around us, present even in the most ordinary things. There are times when every day objects suddenly look different, go from unremarkable to extraordinary — I try to capture that “super-naturalness” before it fades.

To extract what I see as the essence of what I am photographing, I try to move away from its purpose or nature and concentrate instead on the form. What might generally be considered secondary details take center stage for me. I want to transcend the original object; transform it into pure aesthetics; stylize it into abstracted lines and colors. This allows me to morph it into an emotion instead of an object. I want the camera to reflect the feeling I get from what I am photographing, rather than the object itself.

For this same reason, I bring almost all of my photographs into the computer, where I can manipulate contrast and saturation to emphasize the already existing colors, patterns and texture — to extract what I saw in them. And most of my paintings are based on photographs too, which adds an additional layer of abstraction.

Sometimes I leave the images photorealistic, other times I apply filters to blur or stylize them. What I am trying to do is mystify the lines between photography and painting. I want the viewer to look at my work as lines and colors and textures — to enjoy it visually or emotionally — then almost as an after-thought discover what the actual photographed object was.

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