Viewing his photos as paintings, Chilean photographer Eduardo Asenjo Matus has a unique technique for capturing the spirit of his environment. Using a neutral density filter, he employs long exposures to focus in on his primary subject, leaving the rest in an artistic blur. The former graphic design and architecture student started this series, The Sound of Silence, in 2015 as a way to reflect his own emotions.
“With this technique, I wanted to show how I listen to the city. Before starting I painted with acrylics but for reasons of time and materials I stopped doing it,” Asenjo Matus tells My Modern Met. “A few years ago I started having hearing problems. Having a conversation in the street was very complicated. I had to concentrate on one voice and eliminate the rest of the sounds, this was like listening in slow motion something blurred and imperfect. For this, I use a neutral density filter, a slower exposure, and the intentional movement of the camera.”
Asenjo Matus’s street photography is inspired by the perfection of imperfection that he finds in Valdivia, Chile. The cold and gray city—one of the rainiest in Chile—is the stage for the photographer to sit quietly and observe the world as it goes by. And through his innovative technique, he’s able to capture the streets in a way that is uniquely his. Each photo centers on a singular person, frozen among the crowd. In this way, he creates a connection between subject and viewer that is powerful, elevating his artistic street photography to another level.
“Not all photographs have to be perfect, sometimes you have to skip rules, and not listen to bad comments until you reach your goal,” he shares. “For me, more than pictures, they are watercolor paintings.”