Anthony Hernández comes from a vocational impulse rather than academic glare. He began his career as a photographer probably without knowing that what he was doing was a profession or how far that expression extended. He began by looking at the immediate, what was at hand, in the neighborhood. A self-taught impulse that led him to portray, without any previous preparation, the streets of his environment and the people who inhabited them. All a stage of asphalt and cement, of desolation and poverty that, without my guessing it, circumscribed it in the same way as other classic photographers, such as Robert Frank or Garry Winogrand, with whom he has so many points in common. "I have always tried to be very formal, both in the landscapes and in the images with people, and I have tried to structure them in the most appropriate way," he acknowledged yesterday during the retrospective. Mapfre Foundation of Madrid dedicated to his work.
The artist began his career with small, light cameras, 35 mm, and black and white. In this way he carried out the works of the 70s, when he was attracted by the dozens of homeless people he saw lying on the sidewalks, sleeping on the beaches or sheltered in abandoned architectural structures. "Before there were many poor people, but now there are many more who you see, before I photographed them to teach them, but nowadays, even people are less interested in how these people live, they look at the first ones they find, But later, they do not even notice them anymore, it's worse than in my time, "said the artist, who shows people in a new dimension: how disposable materials of a society that was beginning to be corroded by excessive consumption.
The bicolour photograph, tacked to the chromatic arc of the black and white, ended later, when it began a series dedicated to Rodeo Drive. It is one of the most important jumps that occurs in its evolution. With these snapshots, where red is the most predominant of all colors, he left behind a stage. Although still concerned about the human figure. "Nothing is forever," she says smiling, "I've tried to get some images to get people's attention about things that went unnoticed." And, in particular, it refers to work centered on abandoned sites. Are today desolate places, in ruins, as landfills, empty parking lots and garages of obsolete machinery, as if trying to tell us that the activity of man, and his footprints, were as important as the people themselves.
The show follows its steps from the beginning to the end. A photographic journey, through 110 images, which can be interpreted as a journey that runs from the most figurative to the most abstract, because towards the end of his career, Anthony Hernández separates people from his compositions. It erases them from their objective and the only thing that attracts them is the urban landscape. Warehouses, underground, buildings in ruins. Towards them he directs his gaze, focusing on color and composition, leaving the impression that cities, with their shapes, spaces and random combinations of contrasts and colors, are also able to provide us with a rich field of suggestions and stimuli far from the shape. "In this society saturated with images, what worries me the most is that my works teach something that had gone unnoticed to all of us, and, above all, that its content be enriched every time it is seen, that readings and dimensions that had not been appreciated before ".