Hamiltons fourth exclusively online exhibition Venenum presents, for the first time as one, three of Guido Mocafico’s studies – Serpens, Aranea and Medusa – which Mocafico had always intended to be a trilogy.
Photographed across the world, each of these venomous creatures are portrayed against a black backdrop, creating intense and dramatic ‘portraits’. Serpens consists of a vast collection of snakes, including vipers and cobras. The Aranea photographs depict tarantulas from the Theraphoside family, which consists of approximately 800 species. A common fear amongst human beings, the photographs present deadly spiders in a minimalist fashion as beautiful still objects. Medusa confuses and amazes; jellyfish are an unnerving species as their anatomies defy the norm and they come from a place unknown to human beings.
As Guido explains, “A photograph has to provoke a reaction”, and this trilogy of works does just that. His images incite the most conflicting of human emotions, which he himself also experienced. On photographing the snakes, Mocafico said “I have always been terrified by these reptiles, but I also find them terribly fascinating. I felt a sort of repulsion-attraction for these living creatures.”
Despite the creatures of Venenum igniting a sense of fear for many, Mocafico chooses to depict them vividly and close up elevating them to protagonist stature. As a master of technique, the lighting and arrangement work together with the subject matter to rouse this combination of repugnance yet admiration for their beauty. “If I had to define beauty, I’d say it has to contain an element of darkness or danger.”, Guido Mocafico.
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