Cherine Fahd's photographs from her series The Chosen (2003-04) each picture a person cooling off underneath a water sprinkler in the warm sun, in front of a golden sandstone wall. Many of the people turn their heads upwards, with arms held out from the body, eyes closed and mouth open-oriented towards the light as surely as sunflowers. Fahd's freezing of this movement at its climax creates a particular intensity: The people seem truly to surrender to the moment they are in. The isolation of each figure and its shadow within a shallow space further concentrate the corporeal drama. In resonance with the redemptive theme suggested by the title, many of the figures in The Chosen mimic the demeanour of worshipping or ecstatic figures in religious art. Through a felicitous orchestration of light, Fahd turns their receptivity to the sensual pleasures of water and sun into a receptivity to 'divine' light. These photographs lure us by a kind of magic whereby a simple everyday act is both just itself and the vehicle for meaning. Different layers of reality and illusion cohere in images of everyday reality reconstructed through Fahd's photographic eye. Actual light is turned into metaphorical light, immobile bodies move our minds. The Chosen appeals to our nostalgia or idealism, as it gestures towards some form of redemption from the material world it documents.
Linda Michael, revised excerpt from 'Summertime', catalogue essay 2004
Centre for Contemporary Photography
404 George St, Fitzroy Victoria 3065, Australia
+61 39417 1549
FB / TW / IG
Seven nights after dark