Mohamed Yakub

“What I love about the camera is its ability to capture the beauty of light. When we free ourselves and accept its inherent technical inefficiencies, the camera lets us experience images that our deft eyes will not let us see. The camera gifts us with moments that makes one marvel at the multi- dimensional world around us.

One of my earliest experiences of this was a long exposure of a New York subway train pulling out of a station. The streaming colors broken down to all its components served as a gateway to an alternate experience, one as real as a perfectly exposed photograph. I love the flaw that is the camera.

Prior to shooting the Santiago Calatrava designed new Path Station, I had been experimenting with long exposures of traffic, buildings, lights and then mirroring these images with often startling results.

Buddha, floating monks, all sorts of fantastical figures would emerge from these pictures. The Path Station project was just an extension of this work except the object was static as opposed to the previous dynamic subjects

I’ve always admired the audaciousness of Calatrava’s design, a building of such wild abandon and yet still a holy site, transcendent, right in the middle of New York. I love the organic repetitiveness, the purity of the exposed structure and Calatrava’s seductive use of natural light. The Oculus became a beautiful canvas from my own work and I can only thank Calatrava.

The first series was shot in February 2018 resulting in a work aptly named “Calatrava Builds A Space Station”. The images are reminiscent of Stanly Kubrick’s ‘2001: Space Odyssey’ but I think that Calatrava has taken the vision even further. All I’ve done is simply amplify that vision.

The second series was shot during the Covid-19 quarantine in New York. This produced a completely different set of images partly because of the near total lack of people and surprisingly it also produced on the whole more colorful images. This time, as well, mask like images and as well as mythical figures became prevalent in this futuristic setting. Our Ancestors visiting the Future. Hence the name RA.

On a technical note, all the images consist of only one photo repeated once, twice or multiple times. There is no stretching or manipulation of the physical image. The range of colors are achieved by variations in color temperature.

As to the images and their interpretations I can only quote Roy DeCarava “A photograph is a photograph, a picture, an image, an illusion complete within itself, depending neither on words, reproductive processes or anything else for its life, its reason for being.”

Archival digital photography printed on Hamhnemuhle etching paper. Larger sizes available by commission.