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SELF-PORTRAIT WITH NINI

 




13. Self-portrait with Nini

I wanted to return to the subject of the self-portrait, of the photographer's vague or wiped out face. The photograph shows Nini and myself. Nini is in focus, I am out of focus. She is in focus for I was the photographer and saw her and wanted to see her that way. In fact, I always want to see the things before me with extreme clarity and taking photos means first of all seeing and wishing to see. My face is out of focus because of all the things in the tangible world, there is only one that man, who “could see himself while he is looking”, as Merleau-Ponty says, cannot see: his own face. Just a vague idea can be obtained through others' pictures, the narcissism of a reflecting surface or some casual references. However, the image will be poorly defined and out of focus.
When the photographer sets his camera and then moves in front of it, this reality does not change and he is still unable to see his face. When he focuses he can see the things around him with great clarity but his face cannot still be seen through the lenses. To put a mirror in front of the camera is an ingenuous move because the relation is between the camera and myself and not between the camera and the mirror.