Digital Camera Broken Sensor, photo essay by Leonardo Magrelli
On the 10th of August 2015, while I was taking some pictures, the sensor of my digital camera broke down. The camera kept working, but all the colors were deeply altered, and seem to mutually change as I changed aperture and exposure. The next day the glitch was gone. It’s interesting how little can be planned in a work, and how the unpredictable affects it, leaving the question: should the unexpected be part of a work? I answered myself when I kept on shooting all that day long.
These photos are the result of that unique day. The colors of these pictures haven’t been changed (except for a slight contrast). These photos are the result of a particular glitch in the RGB processor of a digital sensor: revolving an old well known issue, no analog camera could ever produce them. These pictures are truly RGB native, therefore their colors can only exist on a monitor. (Leonardo Magrelli)
Q&A with Leonardo Magrelli
Photography is a good way to understand yourself. Photography shows what you really look at, when you see things, and, far more interesting, what you look for, when you are shooting. It’s like a Rorschach test, but bigger. The actual world out there is the same for all of us, but someone looks for people and someone else looks for loneliness, someone looks at chaos and someone else looks at order, and so on.
For the same reason, one should never forget how important is what doesn’t become part of a photography. That is equally relevant. John Berger explained that what is shown in a photo always evokes what is not shown. So it’s not only what we see in the image to manifest the intention of the photographer, but also what he chooses to keep out of the shot.
Paradoxically that is the most relevant part, the part that only the photographer knows. But only looking at what you keep out, you can know what you are looking for.
Photography and writing…
It’s not the actual content, but the use that we do of it to matter the most. Words can become images and photos can be “read” (just think of Mallarmé and Sebald). Given this wide range of opportunities, is sad to see that often one of the two medium is used only to validate the other: doing so, it looses much of its potential. But throughout history there have been also wonderful examples of combination between images and writing, from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili to McLuhan’s and Berger’s books.
When photography and writing work together, then they can really improve the outcome, covering each other’s blind spots and being able to communicate things that the other medium cannot.
Who left the biggest impression on you?
Coming from graphic design, I should say Rodčenko, Brodovič and Rusha. Now I should probably add Ghirri, Parr and Kander. But that is only if we talk about photography, because to be honest, considering the childhood and growing up, I think I was more influenced by movies and paintings.
Tell us a little about yourself
Again, I come from the graphic design world, and I think it deeply influenced the way I work. Alignments and asymmetries, plenums and voids, are what I use to design a layout, and are what I look for when I take pictures. They are means to express a content, but they can become the contents themselves.
However, when we design something we can move the objects on the monitor, but when we shoot we have to move around them. Of course, also the act of photography is always around some how. When we are drawing, designing or writing something, and we stand up, walk around the table and try to think and see our work from a different angle, that’s what photography is about.