ana galan – viv(r)e la vie!

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Ana Galan

Viv(r)e la Vie!

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Viv(r)e la vie! is a photography series in process, consisting of photographs of couples in profile with a landscape of a countryside in the background, snapshots which evoke the Diptych of the Duchess and Duke of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca.

The concept depicts the two contrary principles, masculine and feminine, which are found in an embrace as a symbol of the partnership, the unit and belonging, the union of two planets which find themselves in the same line of gravitation. In this movement, we discover the meaning of life. As well in its coniferous landscapes, the series recreates the representation of the power of vital force, of immortality.

Viv(r)e la vie! consists of 15 photographs, of 15 couples which meet in order to dance every Sunday in a community center. This series pays homage to those people who continue to live in the moment.

I began the series Viv(r)e la Vie! in Guadalajara, Spain, with the idea of putting together a set of series of 15 couples in different cities around the world, between 1 and 5 series in each continent and subcontinent. Couples of a certain age, people barely seen socially, but who have not stopped living life fully and whose close relation is photographed in the Sunday outing dances of the community centers of their area.

The photographs give visibility to people which, for a certain time, have lacked such visibility. This series, at the same time, documents the cultural diversity that exists between different cities and countries. All of this is seen through the behaviors and gestures of the dancing couples, in the relationships between man and woman and in the roles assumed by each of them, they also narrate each selected territory.

The second series of Viv(r)e la Vie! was developed in the American city of Philadelphia from June 7 to 27, 2011 thanks to an artist residency I have been granted by the Philadelphia Arts Hotel.


Bio

Ana Galán was born in Madrid in 1969. After receiving her degree in Economics, she completed an International MBA, which entailed studying in three different cities: Oxford, Madrid and Paris. In the last two courses, she wrote a thesis addressing “Speculation in Plastic Art”.

Since 1993 she has combined her passion for photography with her profession, attending various courses and workshops in Paris and Madrid, such as EFTI’s Master of Fine Arts in Photography, and since then has participated in several collective exhibits and photography projects.

She works as the marketing director for a magazine in Madrid, and lives between Guadalajara and Paris.

 

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161 Responses to “ana galan – viv(r)e la vie!”


  • “…which evoke the Diptych of the Duchess and Duke of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca.” Man, that really sounds arrogant to me. To me, the images evoke on camera flash, as well as rather uninteresting family album type snaps.

    “This series, at the same time, documents the cultural diversity that exists between different cities and countries.” No it does not, as far as I can tell. To me, it documents similarity between the couples, potato mashed by flash.

  • MICHAL

    noteworthy that you have not liked the two set up more theatrical efforts here, since that is what you do…that is, photograph the “set” so to speak…maybe that is why you are tough on the set up…fair enough, it is your world…in any case, i do look forward to soonest publishing your work..it will be interesting to see the reaction…i pretty much agreed with you on the set of war recreations…a phenomena i do not quite understand, but it is a genre..but this series just blows me away with a deep poignancy …and honestly i do not think Ana was being arrogant…she was not really comparing herself to Della Francesca i don’t think, but was merely using as reference that one face to face portrait….again, perhaps lost just a bit in translation…and she says, as do you, right along with this comparison that her work is “snapshots”….uninteresting? hmm, not for me….a straight photojournalistic approach to this same subject of couples who dance would more likely have been a big yawn….here i see the power of their connections…having their picture taken..how they want to show themselves…makes me somehow care about them…what were they like when they were young? .. a tenderness here …..flash? so? recreating the “look” of Della Franscesca pretty damned close was her intent.. how else you light these? reflector? ok sure ..yet leading to same look mas o menos….loving this more every time i look….

    cheers, david

  • “noteworthy that you have not liked the two set up more theatrical efforts here, since that is what you do”
    That is not at all what I do. Everything I do is absolutely not set up. What I do is photograph what already exists, sans flash, sans any interaction with my subjects.

    “i do look forward to soonest publishing your work..it will be interesting to see the reaction…”
    Looking forward to that as well. And thanks again for offering!

    “…and honestly i do not think Ana was being arrogant…she was not really comparing herself to Della Francesca i don’t think, but was merely using as reference that one face to face portrait….”
    Well, she said the photos evoke the painting. They do not, though she may think so. Which struck me as arrogant.

    “.a straight photojournalistic approach to this same subject of couples who dance would more likely have been a big yawn….”
    Disagree. Many, including your Magnum colleagues have approached the subject exactly in that manner and I found them to be fascinating.

    “…..flash? so? recreating the “look” of Della Franscesca pretty damned close was her intent..
    That may have been her intent. Doesn’t work for me. We differ. Life goes on.

    “how else you light these?”
    I don’t light, so I’d wait for the light to approximate the painting. Piero Della Francesca didn’t light his subjects either.

    “loving this more every time i look….”
    Looked again, for the third time. Have not changed my mind.

    Best!

  • P.S. Not sure if you saw it, but I replied to your private message on Facebook, and sent you a link to the possible selection of my theatre work for to edit down. Thanks again, and best!

  • MICHAL

    i am on to your work etc, but i am traveling to Italy today, and honestly Michal i will not be able to talk to you until around Aug 1

    well, you do photograph stage sets..that is what i meant…photography that is a representation of a reality…a set up photograph…you may be shooting without lights, but the director of the theatrical production has done all the lighting for you..yes? or, am i missing something here?

    in any case, some people shoot w flash , some do not, some use b&w , some use color…these are are tools…personally i do not give a damn what people use…picture is there or it isn’t…

    i still just do not think Ana was being arrogant…i refer all the time to painters influencing my work, Goya, Caravaggio, etc yet have no pretense of anything other than influence…i think this is what she MEANT albeit if we translate literally then i can see what you mean as well…in general, photographers should never write about their own work beyond very brief intent….

    looked again at this work for the tenth time..have not changed my mind either…this IS the beauty of our craft…so many different ways to think…a very very good thing….

    back to you soonest amigo…

    cheers, david

  • I find myself being sympathetic to Michal’s take on this. Nothing further to add.

  • PAUL TREACY

    oh no!! smiling…..loosen up!!

  • Goya, Caravaggio are my favorites too. Along with El Greco.

  • I love this work, it is simple but so poignant and deep, you can almost feel the relationship in each couple. I think that it was the best way to represent the link that those couple share, its a very interesting point of view and a refreshing look.

  • PAUL…

    hey i am rushing to airport..and i hope to hell you know i am just teasing …you have every right to like and not like what you want…

    by the way, i always loved the French Impressionists too, just for celebrating the everyday life, the non-event…..and light and moment etc etc..surely they influenced street photography the most right off the top…

    ok, running…take care…

    cheers, david

  • I didn’t read the text beyond the first paragraph, so I am not going to comment on comparisons etc. There are elements here that I really do like. I like the genuine affection between the people (especially in 1 & 2). I like the simplicity where you can focus on the connections.

    The use of flash itself doesn’t bother me, but the harsh use of flash detracts from the tender moments taking place right there, in front of the camera. It doesn’t ruin the set for me, but it is a bit bothersome.

  • I just like the sort of little different approach to take photos of couples which stand out a bit to what one gets moreoften to watch and also like to see the difference in each of them, but all this theoretical background I am afraid I fail to value.

  • I like the intimacy and the subtext in some of the expressions. That is what makes it for me. I also don’t like the use of flash like it has been mentioned already but the more I look at them the more it fades and all I see is the undertone on the faces.
    I am wondering how long it took for them to settle in their skin sort of speaking….getting comfortable so Ana can capture those expressions?
    I really like #2….he looks like he is about to pounce on her….and she likes that. That’s what I see :)

  • scary and awesome…this is crazy as shit…
    i like it! this “shot” is everywhere..in any home..always posed…the dream..the blue skies..the white clouds..the angels…
    the hope..the utopia..love..(the possibility ..of not being alone when old)…fear, real smiles/forced souls…i can stare at this, at the idea i mean forever and that makes it a great essay regardless if the photos could have been made by a holga a lomo, a polaroid or a D3X…or a rebel..
    If only human beings knew whats in the afterlife , then everyone would be more relaxed and stop faking it too much…love i mean by “it”!
    but again, wait until i reach that age and i might change my mind!
    Either way ,
    loves it!!!
    P

  • I find it deeply offensive that the letter r in viv(r)e is being set apart from the rest of the word by brackets. It is just this form of blatant linguistic isolation from its social equals that creates feelings of isolation and anomie in young letters and so often leads to the creation of polysyllabic gangs and other forms of social and personal dysfunction. I believe that all such artificial barriers, and especially brackets, which are little more than a form of sociolinguistic control designed to maintain a corrupt system of domination over the socio-orthographically deprived, should be removed so that every young letter can live up to their fullest potential. The notion that the letters in the latter half of the Latin alphabet are not as important as the letters in the first half has been debunked more than once over the past fifty years, and yet here we are in 2011 still seeing manifestations of the same stupid prejudice. One wonders when this idea that some letters are more important than others will go the way of other silly 19th century European ideas as phrenology, Marxism, and the Welsh orgins of the American Indians.

  • in the meantime im still fighting with that demon called “consistency”

  • Akaky i fully disagree because:
    I DO NOT believe that all such artificial barriers, and especially brackets, which are little more than a form of sociolinguistic control designed to maintain a corrupt system of domination over the socio-orthographically deprived, should be removed so that every young letter can live up to their fullest potential. I think every young letter should be responsible as an individual of its own fate.

  • One wonders when this idea that some letters are more important than others…
    ——————————————————————————
    A, as Akaky name starts is not as important as G.
    Akaky sounds much better than Gakaky (one the many reasons i despite Lady GaGa btw;)

  • …therefore not all letters born equal..it turns out through recent studies in Halva University that A is way more important than G for example…etc!

  • @DAH

    Of course I know.

    Godspeed, good sir.

    Paul.

  • “A” is the beginning and the end…

  • @DAH

    “i am on to your work etc, but i am traveling to Italy today, and honestly Michal i will not be able to talk to you until around Aug 1″
    I’ve been doing theatre work for three decades, so no rush. :-)
    “well, you do photograph stage sets..that is what i meant…photography that is a representation of a reality…a set up photograph…you may be shooting without lights, but the director of the theatrical production has done all the lighting for you..yes? or, am i missing something here?”
    Yes, you are missing the whole point. Theatre work is like any other low light work. Lighting designers and directors (god forbid they get involved with lighting!) – like architects and interior designers – THINK they have the light figured out, but not for the camera, by an EXTREMELY long shot. I have to hunt and peck, just like anyone else in “real” low light situations. I’m mostly working at ISO 3200, and my cameras have probably never seen 500/sec. Most of the time I hover around 30/sec to 125/sec, wide open at f/2.8. What crap light they give me, I have to take. They run the show, and I around like a maniac to find an angles and compositions that work, in order to sum up the core meanings of the play of opera at hand. It’s basically plain old photojournalism, in an enclosed space.
    “in any case, some people shoot w flash , some do not, some use b&w , some use color…these are are tools…personally i do not give a damn what people use…picture is there or it isn’t…”
    I have no quarrel with that. Any part of the craft done right, so it becomes art, I’m all over it like a rash! This work does not give me shivers of pleasure or challenge.
    “i still just do not think Ana was being arrogant…i refer all the time to painters influencing my work, Goya, Caravaggio, etc yet have no pretense of anything other than influence…i think this is what she MEANT albeit if we translate literally then i can see what you mean as well…in general, photographers should never write about their own work beyond very brief intent….”
    Perhaps arrogant is the wrong word. But so is saying that this work evokes the Diptych of the Duchess and Duke of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca. I spent the day thinking about this, while attending a number of photo shows in Marseille. Here is what bothers me about the comparison with the Diptych of the Duchess and Duke of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca. One, there is a reason it is a diptych: Francesca’s pair seem to dislike each other. No contact, no emotion, nothing. He seems to be critical of this pair being together. He indicates this in every way. Yes, they are a couple. No, they are not in love. No, they do not really connect, in any way. On the other hand Ana’s work is about love, connection, true life together. Not a chance in HELL does her work evoke Francesca’s diptych in me. Not in a million years! So yes, photographers should just shut the fuck up, show their work, and let someone else blabla about it. Perhaps if I had nor read her blabla, I’d have not reacted so negatively.
    “looked again at this work for the tenth time..have not changed my mind either…this IS the beauty of our craft…so many different ways to think…a very very good thing….”
    Exactly! Room for everyone to carry something away, no matter what it is. Me? I spent the day thinking about this work. That counts for something.
    Best, love ya!

  • I didn’t read the intro. Are these green screen shots, rear projection? Abuse of fill flash? These wouldn’t even place in a camera club competition. Geeze.

  • its a feeling, an idea, get a glass of wine..

  • Warts and all! Wonderful!

    Damn, Michal Daniel – the only arrogance I see is in your words (and Jim’s, of course – par for his course). I will look forward to David’s posting of your work, but don’t let the love of your own technique blind you to what others are doing.

  • I love the way the couples look at each other. So intimate, so close.
    Usually, when you see people who obviously live longer together, in a restaurant, they do not look at each other, they have seen each other enough. But here, there is emotion, there is fire .. it is not only a dancing position. There is more.

    I like this essay much.

  • @Frostfrog

    I already said I may have chosen the wrong word, when I said arrogant. Keep up with the comments. And, I respect all techniques. I just dislike whey they are used in a manner that does not suit the situation. All my never humble opinion, of course.

    Best!

  • It’s taken me all day to appreciate this, but of course thats what Burn is all about for me…
    Learning :)

  • Michal Daniel:

    You said “So yes, photographers should just shut the fuck up, show their work, and let someone else blabla about it. Perhaps if I had nor read her blabla, I’d have not reacted so negatively.”

    Nobody forces you to read her “blabla”, you should be perfectly capable of looking at photographs without reading the accompanying text. If you think photographers should just “shut the fuck up”, why do you bother reading their words in the first place? Makes no sense.

  • e·voke (-vk)
    tr.v. e·voked, e·vok·ing, e·vokes
    1. To summon or call forth: actions that evoked our mistrust.
    2. To call to mind by naming, citing, or suggesting: songs that evoke old memories.
    3. To create anew, especially by means of the imagination: a novel that evokes the Depression in accurate detail.

    Congratulations Ana for this beautiful essay. It evoked some glorious and optimistic feelings about the future in me. You know, there’s sometimes these worrying feelings about how life is going to turn out far away in the future. Will you get tired of the person you’ve already spent 40-50 years of your life with? Or will it just get better and better? Or will you just get tired of being tired of it and embrace your life and do something good about it? Like these couples are? Here it isn’t so much about the dancing in itself, it’s about them, looking at each other. How do they look at each other now compared to in the beginning? That’s the main question triggering my curiousity when viewing these.

    To keep the discussion going: Why should some honest views – which are subjective – be regarded as more arrogant or less correct than other honest views – which are also subjective? Facts can be ‘correct’, but views on art can’t. We all see differently.

    One of my subjective views is that these conceptual pieces didn’t evoke family album snaps at all. Not even close. Some more spontaneous overview shots of these old people dancing would actually fit better inside family albums. But that’s just related to my culture. Maybe conceptual stuff like this is appearing in family albums all the time in another part of the world. I have no clue.

  • marcin luczkowski

    very nice story.

  • Michal – The fact remains, your words strike me as arrogant.

    It appears to me that the simple, elegant, beauty of this piece just passes over you.

    That’s what it is: simple, elegant and beautiful. This essay has been sitting out there since cameras were invented, just waiting for someone with the vision to find it. Ana did. In all that time, I doubt that anyone else ever has – only Ana.

    Sorry you missed it.

  • @Carsten

    “Nobody forces you to read her “blabla”, you should be perfectly capable of looking at photographs without reading the accompanying text. If you think photographers should just “shut the fuck up”, why do you bother reading their words in the first place? Makes no sense.”

    First, I looked at the photos. Said to self: family snaps. Then read the blabla and reacted to the blabla, because it was there. Makes sense now? If not, oh well, no skin off my back.

    @Frostfrog

    “The fact remains, your words strike me as arrogant.”
    Fine. The word I was struggling to find and didn’t until about an hour ago was presumptuous. I find it presumptuous for Ana to think her work evokes he Diptych of the Duchess and Duke of Urbino by Piero Della Francesca.

    “It appears to me that the simple, elegant, beauty of this piece just passes over you.”
    Look, I spent the whole day thinking about it. The work does not pass me over, but I do not feel the way you do about it. Am I allowed to feel the way I do about it, or must I feel about it the way you do?

    “That’s what it is: simple, elegant and beautiful. This essay has been sitting out there since cameras were invented, just waiting for someone with the vision to find it. Ana did. In all that time, I doubt that anyone else ever has – only Ana.”
    Not to me it isn’t. Again, do we all have to have the same reaction to other’s work? Is this like some kind of a thought police place, or what? You adore it, I don’t. Happens all the time. I simply voiced my never humble opinion, and you voiced yours. That’s what makes BURN catch fire. If we all agreed and loved everything posted here, it would likely be a smoldering heap or crap.

    “Sorry you missed it.”
    I didn’t. I just don’t see it the way you do.

    Best!

  • P.S. I’m out of this discussion. Said all I want to say. Best to all!

  • No Michal, still doesn’t make sense. Unless of course you don’t really mean what you say, i.e. your categorical statement that photographers should “shut the fuck up”.

  • “Not to me it isn’t. Again, do we all have to have the same reaction to other’s work? Is this like some kind of a thought police place, or what?”

    Not once did I say you have to think as me. I did not try to police your thoughts. I simply challenged them.

    Not everyone appreciates a Bach fugue, but it is a beautiful and elegant thing. Some people may not hear it as do others and might miss it entirely, but still it remains beautiful and elegant. Some hear it but miss it, you saw this but missed it.

  • Like #5 the best, Ana; that guy doesn’t care how old he is, he’s still got IT.

  • Not everyone appreciates a Bach fugue, “but it is a beautiful and elegant thing”……..that is your supposition not a fact as you have presented it to be.

  • you saw this but missed it…… another presumption on your behalf and you are stating that there is something to be missed, maybe there isn’t anything that is missed

  • in 1968, during vietnam war an american airplane with black servicemen could not land in Brisbane Australia because there were black people on the plane!

    (just 4 the history)

  • 1n 1968 black people found it very difficult to live in America (just 4 the history)

  • In the summer of 2012, an airplane carrying Michal Daniel will not be able to land in Wasilla, Alaska because he is on the plane.

    (4 future history)

    I like the essay ok, especially the ones where the long simmering hate between the couple is palpable. The text though, does seem to be referring to a different essay. Cultural diversity? They all seem to be middle class white people who shop at the same retail outlet. Unseen people? Maybe for those who don’t have parents. And I’m sorry, but the second paragraph is one of the most pretentious I’ve read associated with one of these things, which is saying a lot. These photos hold the key to the meaning of life and immortality? Perhaps for thee… And yes, I am aware that one doesn’t have to read the statement, but the photographs and the words are presented as a whole so it would be wrong not to… imho

  • In the summer of 2012, an airplane carrying Panos will be able to land in Wasilla, Alaska because he is on the plane.

    (4 future history)

  • I LOVE this piece….

    now, i also LOVE Della Francesca…actually the great great dipytich of Duke and Duchess of Urbino was one of my fave paintings as a young guy and i too was obsessed with it for a long time..particularly the Duke and that magnificent nose….and i’ve always love was Della Francesca did with background…his foreshortening…his perspective flattened…and in truth, this kind of visual relationship between subject and background (just as in Chinese painting) was what i loved so much…obsessed really with pre-renaissance use of perspective and background….maybe it is because i was a painter before photography but the way Della Francesca played with geometry and foreshortening as such a cool and quite fun sense of space….and that extraordinary portrait…the noses, the eyes…their ‘huge’ relationship to the almost silly background….anyone see this painting in real life?: it’s magnificent….

    anyway…what i love here is not only the allusion to the work but the same sense of humor. Using flash and a constructed/photoshoped background is exactly what Della Francesca achieved, only here, in picture taking, it lends not only extraordinary humor (the lifeblood of any sustained relationship) but makes it that much more tender: we see THEM and their outersized life/love because of this perspective…because of the obvious construction…this is not an environmental portrait, it is a constructed portrait as an ode to love…and maintaining the same funny/motif background draws our attention even more to their faces, their tenderness…and this is all about construction, or rather, ‘real’ against the ‘fake’….

    the use of the crazy flash that heightens it…..like those great funny flicks that first use green/blue back to make movies…like watching Carey Grant and Grace Kelly drive their red beauty along the highway of ‘Monaco’…though it was all in a studio….the tenderness becomes even more because we know it’s in a studio, and yet, there is that chemistry…..

    wish to write more, but no time…

    maybe i’m just a sentimental old f&$ck, but what still gets me is the playfulness in photography….just great….and surely this isn’t comparing the work to Della Francesca, but is a modern, humourist variant on a wonderful tradition….

    man, i just don’t get the negativity at all….

    big smiles, and big congratulations Viv(re) L’Amour! :))))

    cheers
    bob

  • Couples of a certain age, people barely seen socially……..maybe they are not living under the rock that you presently live under along with your pet ostrich

  • Imantz:

    a Bach fugue, “but it is a beautiful and elegant thing”……..that is your supposition not a fact as you have presented it to be.

    : )

  • Any plane landing Wasilla, Alaska, carrying anyone from these forums will be greeted by an open-armed Frostfrog who will also extend an invitation to dinner, an overnight stay and a discussion about the airplane that brought them here…

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