Guillermo de Yavorsky, photographer,...

Guillermo de Yavorsky is tall and dark, with a voice that carries. Very tall. Very dark. Very audible. He lives in Saint-Barthélemy most of the year, where he is a partner in the architectural design firm, Design Affairs. But he introduces himself as a photographer – immediately pulling out his iPhone to share a mini gallery of his latest works. Let’s follow the guide...

« Call with… »

His current project, after a series on South African soccer, is entitled “Skype Portraits”. In the course of conversations with friends, or with people contacted specially for the occasion, Guillermo photographs his computer screen, capturing a “communication moment” with correspondents often thousands of miles away. Grainy images, fleeting silhouettes that dissolve in a blue cyber mist, the only elements truly in focus are the identity of the caller or person called and sometimes the locations involved, displayed in the application’s tool bar: Call with Aleisa Mondolfi… From Caracas to Paris, From New York to St Barts…

“What interests me is the tech-enabled sense of ubiquity, and the immaterial quality of these images. After a while, some people forget that I’m on the other side of the world with my camera, and yet in the same room with them. I have captured some marvelous instants, like a friend I had to abandon for a few minutes to switch memory cards: upon my return, she was obliviously nursing her baby on my screen…”

Showcase

Other people are so aware of Guillermo’s camera that they feel compelled to put on a little show for him, from pulling funny faces to improvising a mini striptease or a lascivious embrace, their eyes trained on the webcam. It appears that capturing such intimate moments arises from the dematerialized connection and the distance between correspondents. Sometimes a revealing street sign or an architectural detail informs the context, but more often than not, the closeness of the model blocks out any telltale clue: no bedroom or study looks more like another bedroom or study than when seen through the filter of a low-resolution webcam.

To showcase this particular project, Guillermo plans to have photo enlargements made by a lab, rather than display his shots on a screen. “It’s much more interesting to disrupt the chain of a screen, within a screen, within a screen: a photo print will emphasize the unique grain of the Skype image.” In fact, , the interplay between image, emitter and surface are at the heart of Guillermo’s next subject, where travel photos will be projected on a naked body, distorted and taken out of context by virtue of the “geography” of the human anatomy.

Incognito

As for the profession he is better known for on the isle, it is not far removed from his art. Guillermo has collaborated with Christian Liaigre on a number of occasions, notably on the complete re-vamp of Le Sereno Hotel and the Sereno Villas, or on the building of a villa for American art dealer, Larry Gagosian. He may be “one of the five most influential people in the world of contemporary art,” confides Guillermo, but “he wants a villa devoid of any form of art!” Like anywhere on earth, the building site attracts its share of passers-by: “It was December 25th, with only the foundations laid, when a guy on a scooter stopped to chat…” The “guy” was Roman Abramovitch, the young Russian millionaire and owner of Chelsea Football Club. “Saint-Barthélemy is one of few places in the world where he can just buzz around like anyone else, at no risk. » Except, that is, for the risk of being caught by Guillermo’s Ricoh to become part of one of those projects in his iPhone gallery, just waiting to be exhibited…by Gargosian ?

Photos: Guillermo de Yavorsky - "Kenako Bafana" / "Skype Portraits"

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