(Out Of) Focus

Text: Ana Pinho

Daniel Malva is a pacifier. Caught in the middle of the debate on analogical versus digital cameras, he prefers the ones that takes pictures. I cant imagine myself picking a side, says. Trying to compare the two is like arguing between watercolor and oil paint, a pointless discussion.Born in Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo, he was drawn into the misteries of photography twelve years ago, taking naked pictures of his wife in his student times at Senac, in São Paulo, and developing them himself in a black and white film lab where he worked at the time.

The result of his Rolleicord experiment ended up becoming the work presented for his graduation term and his first photos to be featured in a gallery exhibition, in 2009. A few years later, he crossed the ocean and got his own solo art show in both London, where he is represented by Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery (www.kristinhjellegjerde.com), and Oslo, hosted by norwegian Shoot Gallery, in November, 2014. Known by his artistic pictures, Malva doesn’t stick to only one style. “What attracts me is the uneasiness of images. Making people stop to think and talk about things“, he explains. I take purposely unfocused pictures, use low resolution in my advantage and make odd choices to make people wonder about their own definitions of right and wrong.”

To create his own private world, Daniel builds and modifies his cameras and lenses himself and uses unusual objects to do so, such as shampoo bottle caps and eyeglasses lenses. Like a painter, he makes daily studies on flowers and fruits to develop new films, filters and whole aesthetics.Soon to be a mechatronic engineer, he designed a software solely to develop the series “Museu de História Natural“. For another project, he constructed a lens inspired by the ones used by planes to photograph beyond enemy lines on World War II to get a more detailed result. The photographer sees his work as a combination of method and thoughfulness. “The pictures are but consequence of my dedication on learning and studying my trade”. Malva is critical of current times of rapid imagery production: “It lacks reading, in the most literal sense of the word. We need to learn the basics so we can use the technology with wisdom”, he ponders.