From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki





what came before?

what will follow?

Final edit

Ambiguity is a series of street photography, taken in Rotterdam. The photos are black and white, and this stylistic choice is connected to the message i am attempting to convey in the work.

Very much inspired through the texts i read on coloniality/decoloniality in a previous seminar- I draw a connection between colonialism and totalitarianism and am focused on understanding and fighting back against the removal of meaning that runs rampant today. With totalitarian governments and societies, Both try to impose ideology over people, taking away their individual identity, we see humans be reduced to 'the same', This frustrates, angers but also inspires me to make works that explore and challenge this, as seen in this series.

The timing of a strong fog in the city was a major accelerator for me to grab my camera and hit the streets. The fog has a sort of magical and almost intimidating effect, in my opinion it can be read as violence, and it also tends to make the people it surrounds be engulfed in it, also reflecting this notion of 'the same'.

In terms of technical decisions i made while capturing these candid moments, i implemented the use of long lenses to heighten the sense of distance and disconnect. This allowed for a sort of compression of space, something adding to the overwhelming feel of the fog, and the city and it's size- something that was repeatedly on showcase through the use of vertical/portrait format, often highlighting large buildings, light poles, structures etc.

I felt free as a creator while making this series. The documentary, street approach allowed my possibilites that are not always available in my practice where i am often working in controlled and sometimes private portraiture sessions. I would often find a frame i enjoyed in terms of environment and would wait (sometimes long!) for a human to enter the frame and interact or add the final 'element'.

Moving forward, I am interested in continuing this approach, potentially with other mediums like film/analog something i have lots of experience with. Additionally, I would like to explore how i can also evoke other emotions and atmospheric feeling, in different climates and weather, not necessarily just with fog.

[claudio's not-so-edited notes]


I made this project for Cihad's seminar on power and violence. I was inspired by the talks we had during the seminar, and draw a connection between colonialism and totalitarianism. Both try to impose ideology over people, taking away their individual identity and forcing them to just one way of being, of behaving, of thinking. They don't allow alternatives, difference. They make everyone similar. And they make people afraid of being different. Fear is one of their main tools. I then wanted to show through my work what it is to make everyone lookalike, without identity.

When the mist came to Rotterdam I thought it was the best setting for the idea I had in mind. The mist makes everyone similar and not recognizable, takes away identity, makes the human figure lost in the background without any possibility to choose and stand out, just as totalitarianism does. I then just took my camera and walked around with this intention in mind.

what came before? what will follow?

I mostly shot staged photography but I've always been in love with documentary photography - just go out in the streets and shoot without much thinking or preparation. That's what I did in this project and it made me feel so good and in love again with photography after months that I did not even touch my camera. So, I would love to shoot more this way. Concerning the project I would like to expand it further, working on the same concepts of shadows, fear, loss of identity but maybe using other metaphors than the mist