The Great Italian Master Vittorio Storaro, director of photography in such memorable films as Apocalypse Now, Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, defined this art as “the literature of light”, perhaps the most beautiful way to complement what is very right, usually stated on a popular level: an image can say as much as a thousand words.
Something like this I thought when I discovered the creations of Alberto Borrego Sánchez, a son of San Cristobal, where she resides and works full-time, and whom journalist Mayra García Cardentey, without fear of exaggeration, called El Korda Pinareño, probably shaken by a work within which reality, rather than shock, impacts, shudders, shakes, ends up leaving us, as in jean-Luc’s famous film Breathless.
Confess this easy and cheerful verb man who only throws five or six photos a year and sends them to the event or contest where they really deserve to participate. It seems that in this strategy he has done especially well, because contests won are left over to his résumé, and not exactly of the heap, among them the convened following the centenary of the diocese of Pinar del Río, in 2003, and the second place in the Salon Tiburcio Lorenzo, in 2009, as well as exhibitions in prestigious spaces of the visual arts.
As soon as one delys into the images collected by the artist, it is impossible not to stand firmly at the conceptual discourse emanating from them, where he devilishly combines humor well with a fine touch of irony, which serve to season with very good taste its poetic creator, while in others a brutal and dry realism, a story that has passed every day before the indifference of our eyes , leaves us nailed to the floor.
Among us artists who seek, above all, the exuberance and perfection of the landscape, forgetting – unlike Alberto – that their concept is more comprehensive, richer, more controversial, and can also reveal the deepest and most contradictory of the human condition, as this young master sees it, bent on not passing by the lights and shadows of his time.
Alberto Borrego Sánchez is an example of aesthetic and humanistic solidity so consistent that he has encouraged several writers – including those who write these lines – to use some of his most striking photographic works on the cover of his books.
Like every race creator, he hates soulless photography; pulling doesn’t go with your style, even if today’s Cuban life imposes its tough budgets for subsistence. That’s why you can perfectly take photos of about fifteen, a wedding or those of a birthday, but you know that the photo art with capital letters, the most excellent and legitimate, far exceeds these happy moments and is – also like poetry – wasted, waiting, sometimes painfully, in a street or in a neighborhood without glamour, in an alley , at the entrance of a desolate cafeteria, in a hospital room, next to the train lines, and everywhere… and he must know how to find out who pretends to be a good artist.
While stopping for a moment the onslaught of so many people who request it, Alberto opens several folders on his computer and shows me one work after another. It takes time to explain them to me, even though the photos shout their message. All of them, without exception, are exquisite.
And also without exception he loves them all, even if they collect very strong and sad images, such as those linked to the most distressing hours of his mother’s life, mortally worn by the ferocious onslaughts of Alzheimer’s, to the point of being practically with the skin on the bones.
“They are hard images, and to me they are harder than for anyone, because they are linked to my mother; but someone must reflect the havoc of Alzheimer’s, someone has to, and I feel like it’s my turn. When a man is moved by any disease, he is in a better position to interpret it, to study it and even to prevent and combat it,” the artist has confessed very convincingly.
At such a high master’s rank in the work with the image ascended Alberto, that the poet, critic and essayist Rafael Acosta de Arriba, released his documented and extraordinary book The Seduction of the Gaze. Photograph of the body in Cuba (1840-2003) lamented that, because he had not known these images in time, none of them were present in The Seduction… Had I known them in time – especially the most shocking of the whole – I would have been, in every right, present in this volume.
Not everyone usually accepts photos where illness or sadness prevails. They prefer kinder images. However, life is not exactly a panacea. It’s hard, and often you have to live it and die it in very tough ways. But if you look at photos as masterful as those taken of your sick mother – without any clothes other than her light skin – looking with defiant donaire at the light of day that enters through her window, then she becomes as moved as the artist and applauds to rage the magisterium and boldness of this one.
A member of UNEAC, with works by collectors from countries such as Spain, England, Canada, the United States and Venezuela, always ready to reach out to the artists and creators of his environment, Alberto Borrego is the very image of a refined and complete talent, of a man who “points” well and “shoots” better, which they did not one day call El Korda Pinareño (now Artemiseño , I clarify by laughing), apparently with great reason and no exaggeration. Ω
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