If you’ve been tuned into the goings on around here, you know we stacked our May release schedule with brand new photo editions to celebrate National Photography Month. And today’s treat? A super special double edition release that marks Canary Islander Fares Micue’s 20x200 debut, and evidences our inability to play favorites with her enchanting, enigmatic self-portraits. You could pick the image that speaks to you or collect both Forest lights and The moment is now. Each one is a standout statement piece, but the pairing is particularly striking.
Micue’s aesthetic is unmistakable. In creating her conceptual photographs, her process is extremely precise, her final images meticulously composed, each element carefully considered. Colors are vibrant and supersaturated or otherwise emphasize contrast. Interesting textile textures abound, from transparent and diaphanous to crisply creased. Hovering orbs, origami, and a wide range of botanical objects are recurring themes. In Forest lights, the yellow balloons seem to signify happiness, a sort of buoyant serenity, hovering around her head like active thoughts. Her body position is comfortable, her clothes white as if to connote clarity. The encircling plant matter appears almost to have parted for the central figure. There’s an epiphanic feeling. The moment is now is more introspective and mysterious. Micue walks into a thicket, her back turned. What lies beyond the bushes is obscured, but her arms imply movement, grazing leaves as they go, experiencing her surroundings. She is bravely, calmly heading into the unknown.
There is so much mood, emotion, and symbolism in these photographs because Micue approaches each image as a self-contained story. (You can hear more about Micue’s process directly from the artist on My Modern Met’s podcast.) She has a penchant for creating different characters, acting out each part. Her face is often obscured, drawing viewers deeper into the work, igniting their imaginations; some might be more inclined to see themselves in her photos or pick up on personal meaning in their metaphors. Take your reality into your own hands, they seem to say. Go inward, connect to emotion, find authenticity, don’t be afraid to dream. Forest lights and The moment is now are fanciful, but they’re both also reflections of and on fragility and strength on the path to self-empowerment, and the courage in vulnerability.
A self-taught photographer, Micue picked up the medium a little over a decade ago, and found it especially well-suited to translating the inner workings of her mind to the visual plane. In her personal search for fulfillment, she became increasingly drawn to the camera as an avenue of self-discovery, in conversation with her writing practice. (On her Instagram, you’ll find her work accompanied by prose that adds another layer of meaning to each image.) Photography brought her joy, but it also offered her a means of sharing her journey—and a way of encouraging others to prioritize their own self-exploration. In exemplifying the exercise, her images urge viewers to take the time to meditate on their experiences, to visualize their dreams, to pay attention to their mental state, be present, and cultivate awareness. The photos are infused with positivity, and it radiates outward. “I want my images to give hope and teach people to appreciate themselves, to love, dream, and believe that everything is possible if we believe it is,” Micue says. Sounds good to us.
With art for everyone,