Tuesday 19 June 2012

The Compassionate Photo-Art of Manuel Delgado

A couple of days ago, by happenstance, I came across a lovely photo by a Malagueño (a resident of Málaga in Andalusia) though originally from Cáceres (a mediæval city in Extremadura). His name is Manuel Delgado. But it is the photograph of his visage and mien that drew me in.

I have since written to this sensitive artist with my interpretation of the image:

"I love your profile photograph with the come-hither demeanour (well to my eye anyhow!). I cannot decide whether the pillow iterates this position or contrariwise it adds a sensitive perspective of a more vulnerable self. The red of the fabric of your attire, the peach of the pillow and the orange tones of your skin all underscore the passionate. You do not state the colour of your eyes. Initially I thought they were black, but on a closer look they appear hazel. Whilst your mouth is definitely not forming a smile, I suspect those lips do so more than do not. I really like this photo."

Some artists can be a tad prickly about interpreting their work. Personally, I write poetry, it does not bother me what interpretation the reader places on the poem. It means what it does to me. But like a child, it has its own personality and must be allowed the freedom to express itself. Thankfully Manuel took no umbrage whatsoever at my comments.

The portrait had a link to Manuel's photographic website (Manuel Delgado) where copies of his works can be purchased. I am slightly hesitant to add below some of his œuvre, because Manuel wants to see which images I have chosen - no pressure then!

The first is from a series entitled "Banderas" ("Flags") (#27):

This initially made me think of the UN flag; but it is also reminiscent of imperial banners with eagles and such like upon them. Some of the flags look almost recognisable; others are more abstract: but they fascinate nonetheless. Personally, methinks the collection should be viewed as a complete corps to extract full meaning and significance. So why not take a good gander (scrutinise them)?

Next photo is from a compelling (for me) series taken of just one spot on a pavement, "Pasos en la acera" (Steps):

Naturally, this completely appeals to my OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). However, additionally, it speaks to me of notions of time & space, transience and the ephemeral; and, more specifically, reminded me about humanity's recent appearance in geological/cosmological time. Of course, to you they may hint at something entirely different!

My next choices are from a series called "La Habitación Secreta" or "The Secret Room" (Room). The images include nudity and subjects that some may take offence at. If so, cease reading this article at this point.

What I find interesting about these images is that they have caught men in quotidian activities that are rarely photographed. Manuel, however, demonstrates an honesty and frankness in this series that recounts a complete narrative without cloying romanticism nor Hollywood glitz nor pornographic brashness. I suspect he has a compassion almost tenderness for his subjects. This is rare as many photographers aim for the photojournalistic dispassion that merely observes rather than interacts with its subject.

And finally, just to demonstrate that the artist is not afraid of colour, here is one from his series "Trabajo en la calle" or "Work on the street" (Workers), Estela the florist:

If one has been to Málaga, one will be all too aware of the wonderful array of blooms available from the street vendors, particularly in the old historic part of the city.

I hope Manuel approves of my choices. I hope the reader's interest has been sufficiently piqued that s/he will want to visit Manuel's web gallery. %)


  1. MUCHAS GRACIAS, COLIN!!! qué sorpresa, no creí que ibas a hacerlo tan pronto!!Me han gustado las imágenes y las series que has elegido, es curioso cómo uno se apega a algunas de ellas y luego el público prefiere otras cosas, pero yo hago fotos para tener una respuesta y la tuya me ha parecido bellísima, muchas gracias, guapo!!!

    THANK YOU, COLIN! what a surprise, I did not think you were going to do it so soon! I liked the pictures and series you have chosen, it is curious how one gets attached to some of them and then the public prefer other things, but I do photos for a response and yours seems to me beautiful, thank you very much, beautiful! (google trastation)

    1. Ha sido un placer para mi. Gracias por tus fotos maravillosas. %)