Everyone is looking at us / The images that give back the word
The look of Leandro Betancor Fajardo
By Diego Hernandez
Leandro Betancor Fajardo (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1975) is a visual artist, photographer and storyteller, because in his work what is seen is as important as what is written and spoken. Betancor’s images invite conversation: space and time are frozen wrapped in an aura of premeditated fiction. The play of shadows and the absence of the individual, the human element, are two parameters that are repeated in the pulse and gaze of an artist whose work, broadly speaking, is articulated around verbal and visual language. The word and the image go hand in hand, an experience that the author will share in public in a workshop on photography and writing at the Pérez Galdós House Museum in these months of November and December, whose registration is still open.
“My work has always focused on series in which I accompany the photography with texts,” he explains when asked about the Foto pre_textos, a column that he has been publishing weekly on canariashora.com for two years, and also, for a year and a half and every Tuesday, in the Hoy por Hoy magazine of Cadena Ser Las Palmas, with the title Seeing with your ears.
“Once you publish or hang a photo (on a wall or a social network), it belongs to the eye that looks at it. And here I pretend to be like that smiley that doesn’t exist, the one that tells you: I want you to know what I want to tell, that’s why my photography always plays with fiction”.
In the curricular backpack of the Gran Canarian resides a remarkable experience in the audiovisual and artistic field inside and outside the Canary Islands, with some thirty exhibitions of his work in galleries, museums and fairs such as the CAAM (individually and collectively), the National Museum of La Silver or the FotoNoviembre Biennial among others. Also as a film photographer, live music (a regular at the foot of the stage), portraits… Beneath his gaze appears a list of actors, actresses, directors and directors -Isabel Coixet, Tim Miller or Mateo Gil, among others. – and of artists, music groups and landscapes throughout the planet, disciplines in which the photographer and the visual artist are equally projected. But also the writer. The verb has always accompanied him as a valuable tool that opens another window, different from the one that the eye transmits: the images that return the word.
The author points out about his series of photo stories that “they have been like a rescue of something he had been doing for many years”, since the early 2000s, when a scholarship from the Community of Madrid as a young artist opened the doors of the exhibition circuit. in small rooms, premises and bars, libraries, etc. The literary furrow led him to the exhibition “Fable, Fiction and Document”, in a Madrid gallery, in which three photographers worked from the image and the word. “It was there that I exhibited my Photo pre_texts for the first time“, underlines Betancor. Other scales in the transit of the verbo-visual language were his exhibitions “Escribiendo imágenes”, in a Lanzarote gallery, and his “GeoFicciones” in the CAAM, which showed that he cannot conceive the image without the word.
“I force myself to a discipline that is both photographic and writing,” says Betancor. “It is not enough to look for the motive, the composition or the portrait, a discipline in which I have been working since school but more since my work in cinema. I am equipping a project with all the ones I have done (and continue to do) and hopefully I can be both expository and editorial”.
And it is that, as the artist rightly reasons, “it is an interesting but also difficult time to be a photographer: technology has been democratized and we all carry a device in our pocket that takes photos (and each time of better quality). It is a good news but we live saturated by a culture of excessive image and we must learn to filter because the eye and gaze are also educated”.