MONØkult Feature: Ria Torrente
Becoming, Transforming, and Arriving at Epiphanies
I will not be narrating how I started with photography, when I first picked up the camera or what kind of photographer I wanted to be before I arrived at where I am now in my practice and how it became instrumental in knowing myself better.
All I am aware of since I was young is that I want to become an artist and be able to freely express myself. But I was always never confident at expressing myself and with my decisions even when I was pursuing my other dream of becoming a writer or a poet.
While photography only served as a hobby and a fad for me back then which I thought I would eventually outgrow, it mainly became the medium I’ve chosen to wield along with words.
It has melded into my whole life in general when I finally decided to, quote-unquote, ‘become’ a photographer. Becoming is a metaphysical process, you don’t instantly ‘become’ someone or build your identity without considering transformation.
In my case, I’ve learned to embrace my complexities and contradictions; to express my truth and vulnerabilities; and to navigate life and its beautiful and painful rewards.
These are the subjects I try to explore over the years of finding my voice and intention in a visual manner. I want to understand more than to be understood, to become self-aware and maybe affect others to find their means to process life’s intricacies through my photographs.
My self-imposed exile, leaving everything behind and going to an unfamiliar place, has helped me appreciate what I have in life. It’s a cliché but while I’m continuously honing my skills in a foreign country as a hired commercial photographer, the recurring images I capture in my personal practice on the other hand — abandoned spaces, desolate landscapes and unoccupied expanses — knowingly unfolded into my fascination with solitude.
It resonates with my fears, anxieties, rejections, loneliness and dreams. I am able to keep moving forward and still exist because these manic emotions found their form through images and words. The practice itself has become a meditative exploration of my perpetual desire for self-transformation.
Beyond these deserted spaces, I already have a clear view of what’s next with my visual narratives. My two ongoing series, Absentia and Return to Form, are observation and analysis of spirituality and existence.
However, I am still in the process of exploring other photographic techniques and media beyond digital means. These are considerations I think of these days not only to try a different approach but as well as a part of improving my visual expression. These are what I consider as lifetime visual projects that I want in itself to unfold fluidly and organically.
While I am completely aware where my journey with photography is at the moment, I never want to arrive at a destination because I never really know where I’m going.
Maybe death, in a literal and metaphorical sense, is the most obvious end after pondering so much about existence and how I can visually represent it. But for now, I’ll just hang around and explore or continue starting new journeys every time my images result in epiphanies.
Editor’s Note: As a contributor to MONØMANIA, Ria Torrente (Website, Instagram) dissects the lesser known monochrome photography of the Middle East, with particular highlight to Bahrain, where she currently works for a living. Stay tuned for her next stories on the MONØkult section.