Punto de inflexión / Luz negra

| “Autoportrait ‘tournant’” (1865) - Nadar |

Llegado a la fotografía por accidente, Gaspard-Félix Tournachon “Nadar” fue uno de los más innovadores artistas de su época, uno que, atraído por las posibilidades monetarias del oficio, logró modificar la concepción que hasta entonces se tenía del retrato.

Autoportrait ‘tournant’ (1865) es ejemplo de su capacidad imaginativa. En él se observan doce imágenes en las que Nadar rota su cuerpo para mostrar distintos ángulos. Casi 150 años después de la realización de la serie, el interés radica en lo extraño que resultaba para su época la captura de tal secuencia.

A mediados del siglo XIX, a poco más de veinte años de la popularización del daguerrotipo y de su registro ante el parlamento francés, quienes se interesaban en la fotografía habían apostado por mejorar la técnica. La experimentación química que permitía fijar la imagen en placas de metal —y posteriormente de vidrio— había logrado que los tiempos de exposición a la luz del sol se redujeran de 15 minutos a pocos segundos.

Nadar tenía experiencia suficiente como retratista. En 1853 había abierto un estudio en París en donde realizó su obra más conocida. Baudelaire, Doré, Dumas, Liszt, Nerval, Verne y Víctor Hugo habían pasado por su lente para ser inmortalizados. Su relación con ellos le permitió una impensable libertad creativa.

Alejándose de las tendencias que situaban al sujeto en un construido escenario en el que se les mostraba de pies a cabeza, Nadar apostó por una fórmula tan simple como innovadora: centrar la atención en el rostro. La expresión de los sujetos tomaba entonces una importancia en la que nadie había reparado hasta ese momento.

En Autoportrait ‘tournant’, el fotógrafo se encuentra sentado en una silla que funciona como eje sobre el cual gira el personaje. Las imágenes ahora expuestas fueron realizadas una a una, probablemente en colodión húmedo. Los procesos de la época requerían que después de la captura de cada pieza se acudiera de inmediato al cuarto oscuro para revelar la placa y emulsionar la lámina que permitiera la siguiente captura.

Las manchas que se esparcen por la imagen —además del deterioro sufrido por los años— son una falla propia de la técnica utilizada, la cual requería un cuidado minucioso. Sin embargo, otros de los retratos del artista no tienen marcas como ésta, lo que lleva a suponer que la serie fue realizada como una prueba o por simple esparcimiento.

La cámara, situada sobre un tripié a la altura del fotógrafo, parece ser accionada por el propio modelo con un disparador externo: en la segunda imagen se percibe el movimiento de un brazo que se estira detrás de la silla.

Las distintas expresiones que pueden apreciarse en el rostro de Nadar fueron posiblemente el incentivo que promovió otra de sus invenciones, la “photo-interview”, la cual surgió cuando acompañó a su hijo a realizar una entrevista y accionó la cámara después de cada pregunta para capturar las expresiones por las que atravesaba el entrevistado.

De su hazaña más ambiciosa quedan pocos rastros. Varios años después de realizar Autoportrait ‘tournant’, Nadar adaptó un pequeño laboratorio portátil y montó su cámara —de gran tamaño y peso en esa época— sobre el cesto de un globo aerostático. Después de muchos intentos fallidos en los que casi perdió la vida, acabó con su escasa fortuna y contrajo múltiples deudas; logró, sin embargo, realizar las primeras panorámicas aéreas de la historia que lo consolidaron como un personaje revolucionario en los anales de la fotografía.

| RMM | GSS | Luz negra | @Versalisima |

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