Latin American Fotografia: Silvia Andrade's "The Oracle"

By David Schonauer   Monday June 12, 2017

Science and emotion mix in Silvia Andrade’s series “The Oracle.”

She says the work, a winner of the Latin American Fotografía 5  competition, is based on the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination text involving numbers turned into hexagrams. “I created the photographs for freedom from my demons, or to better my dreams,” she says. “In  2005 I had some personal difficulties, and I need to return to my inner world and find myself. That is why I chose to use the I Ching to help me to find silence to my feelings. All you need sometimes is silence and nature.”

By profession Andrade is a scanning electron microscope technician at the Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY), a facility with a rich botanical garden that she turned into an artistic resource. “Every day I read one hexagram and by affinity I choose a flower from the garden,” she says. Then she uses a scanning electron microscope at CICY to document the flower.

“Nature its amazing and wise,” she says. “Everything — the flower, the leaves, the grass — everything has its time. Noting before and nothing after. The photos I make are my way of expressing that. I see and I feel.” Her “Oracle” images are black and white, she says,  “because at that time my world was black and white —no gray scale at all.”

At the heart of her work, she says, is her combined love of art and science. “I love the microscope,” she says. “I love the natural, unseen world. “The world of the microscope its really fantastic. The microscope lets me fly into a new universe. The invisible world is full of textures, new patterns, incredible shapes.”

As Andrade’s interest in art grew, she studied photography at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán. Her microscopic photography has been seen in magazines, including National Geographic Latin America, and her “Oracle” series was collected in a book from Artes de Mexico. She is perhaps best know for another series featuring Megacerus "seed beetles” found in the CICY botanical garden (below). That work was named a winner of the Sony World Photo Awards and was also featured as part of the Photoville photography festival in New York.

“In Mexico it so hard be photographer, but I just love science and art,” she says. “I need to enjoy the garden and I love share with other people person the unseen world that is just next to us!! I need to return to the path of nature! I want to show that that nature needs us and we need nature."


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