Miguel Vallinas Prieto, Spanish photographer focused on advertising and industrial photography, is the creative mind behind two interesting series: “Skins” and “Second Skins”. In his work, the artist commonly explores landscape and nature photography, cityscape or contemporary architecture and portraits. Carefully crafted works of planning lighting, location and techniques, his images prompt reflection and contemplation. The artist himself describes them as “a search for beauty understood through his eyes”.
Skins is a self-portrait series, where the photographer portrays himself in various scenarios in an attempt to address an identity dilemma. The idea of the series conveys how “any aspect of our life, in this case, the occupation or trade of each, is completely decisive.” In this series, the author explores existential questions like choice and self-acceptance. The same person is playing with different trades or professions with the intention to reflect on the choice of the individual at a certain point in life. The artist details more about his point of inspiration:
O. Wendell Holmes, American poet, described in his theory of personality three types of human beings: “what we think, what others think we are and what we ‘really’ are”; later, in the prologue of his work ‘Three Exemplary Novels’, Miguel de Unamuno adds a fourth mode: the “want to be”, considering that the latter is existentially the most important, since it determines the behavior of each individual. Skins aims to make the viewer reflect on the intimate and ‘real’ reality of each individual and the factors that influence “what we think, what others think we are and what we really are.”
Skins also raises a state prior to the acceptance of self, of how the choice whether or not a particular way determines this. Sometimes the choice is not free because the circumstances lead us to a specific situation to follow a pre-established path, or we are unable to achieve what we crave, so the “want to be” is passed to a second and forgotten plan. At this point one can assume their situation ignoring the “will be”, or keep dreaming and “wanting to be”.
Second Skin is a possible continuation of the “Skin” collection. This time the artist explores the inner reality of the human being by turning to people photography in which heads of humans are replaced with animal faces in order to show the range of possible personalities which are or not in our power, we are imposed or have adopted under some circumstances. This series focuses only on the individual self, trying to isolate the character, ignore its context and references. The artist confessed that
Second skins suggests options, possibilities and ultimately elections.
Photos are courtesy of Miguel Vallinas