Is the world as person sees reality? Or is there something else beyond what one perceives with the eyes?
According to Costa Rican photographer, painter, novelist and poet Floria Herrero Pinto, there is a whole lot more to the world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the concept, study and philosophy of metaphysics,” Herrero said. “I try to address the fundamental nature of being and reality through my work.”
Through her photography, Herrero addresses two of the main questions that have plagued metaphysicians and philosophers for millennia: In any given space, what is really there? And what is “there” like?
Herrero’s photography exhibit “reflections & reflexions” draws into question our concept of reality. Using windows, mirrors and reflective surfaces such as silver, Herrero makes the viewer wonder what is real.
Last month, Herrero’s exhibit received the distinction of being featured at the United Nations’ Vienna International Centre in Austria. Her work was displayed from July 5 to 15 in the center’s rotunda.
In each photo of the collection, it is almost impossible to determine which subject is really there and which is only a reflection.
“If there is a room, a building or a subject that I want to shoot, I like to take the picture off the reflection of some surface,” Herrero said. “I want the photos to have a person draw into question their own concepts and thoughts on reality.”
In the photo “WhoAreTheResponsible,” the shadowy silhouette of an old man stands out in the foreground. He seemingly watches two different realities, a group of people at a museum and a group of people around a man at a table.
Herrero said it often takes her days to find the right angle and right way to portray the “reality” of a specific scene.
“What we see in this world can be only a reflection of the reality, an illusion that every person perceives in a different way,” she said. “Nothing is truly real, or what is reality.”
Herrero said she was able to get her exhibit into the U.N. center through determination, cooperation with the Costa Rican Embassy, and a little bit of luck.
“There was another person whose art they were going to feature in the space where my work was put on display,” she said. “For some reason, the person was unable to set up their work in time, so I was asked how long I needed to set up my exhibit. I told them one month, and set off for Vienna.”
Herrero, who was born in San José, holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Costa Rica. In addition to her work with photography, she is the author of numerous children’s books. In 1991, she was a Fulbright scholar, attending both Georgetown and American universities in Washington, D.C. Herrero also has received numerous awards in Latin and North America for both her children’s literature and poetry.
Herrero is now working on finding a new home for “reflections & reflexions.”
“I need to find an exhibitwhere I can sell my work,” she said with a laugh. “One of the guidelines of having your exhibit up at the U.N. is that it is for display only.”