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Charles Maze  Photography
                                                                       
 
                                                                         Anamorphoses by Charles Maze
 



The anamorphose is an optical phenomenon developed in the course of the 16th century. It restores the proper perception of a distorted image with mirrors or cylindrical lenses. Long considered as a wonder of the art whose secret was jealously kept, the technique of anamorphose was used by painters of the Dutch school, as well as Leonardo da Vinci, Holbein and Dürer. It is a charade, a monster, a prodigy, a mystery all in one. One can use it to hide a secret item like a skull, a sign of vanity, hidden in the representation of Arts and Sciences or an erotic scene that the Chinese would long for.  
 
Over the centuries, the technique of anamorphose has found its inspiration in very diverse topics, ranging from the Italian Oddities (Bizarreries Italiennes), the German visionary cosmology and the romantic phantasmagorias. The anamorphose has never stopped to marvel nor to provoke visual hallucinations. Those elaborate games which continued to develop over the centuries were eventually brought to the technique of movie making in the 1950s. In Paris, movies were projected with anamorphoses produced with special lenses and not according to the original technique. Theaters like Cinérama and Kinopanorama were featuring them on panoramic screens.
Charles Maze has taken this journey even further by developing a computer supported tool that can be applied to photography. This is how he created his own Anamorphoses. Whether in black and white or with vivid colours, he presents his favourite themes: the futuristic landscapes of a megalopolis, the silent universe of Mother Nature, distant and unidentified crowds, the more intimate portraits of matter. Somewhere behind those Anamorphoses, one may spot shapes and figures, spirits or ghosts, angels or archangels. Poetry and wonders are to be found, as the Anamorphose awakens the gaze of a child in all of us.  
 
Could it be that the Anamorphose simply brings out the very soul of a photograph, or more likely that it helps our inner worlds and desires find the perfect medium to express our dreams and meditations? If the Anamorphose appears to us without the corrective optical gimmicks of the past centuries, the image now appears like an enigma. It is not anymore about discovering a hidden object that reveals itself to us thanks to an illusion; it is about exploring our inner selves. Beyond its decorative function, the Anamorphose becomes part of our life and can be a standing question before our eyes.
By choosing an Anamorphose, we actually pick the secret sign of our passion.
 




                                                                                     Vertiginous infinity
 

Charles Maze is the photographer who soars to ever greater heights to better observe us from on high. He whirls, scans, circles in his imaginary rings. Our eye follows him, hypnotized, enveloped by time and space ─ or rather the absence of time and space ─ transformed into drawings and abstract shapes that are inspirational to our eyes and an invitation to dream.
Imagine for a moment that you could really see the future in a crystal ball: you would see the enigmatic images of Charles Maze. Here, the world is upside down, with no above, no below. Just fullness. Absolute.
Reminiscent of the mazes negotiated, step by step, by pilgrims to purify their souls in the cathartic spirals engraved in the marble floors of Gothic cathedrals, the freewheeling spirals that Charles Maze calls his Anamorphoses enchant us, drawing us through visionary coils. You seek a path, a face, some recognizable feature, till you let go, transported through labyrinths of colours and sensations. A journey deep into the iris, the centre of the eye, where everything mingles, melts, combines. A circular dance, almost an apotropaic ritual, which conjures up a desire for cities and landscapes, light and shade, unknown silhouettes, strange filaments that only later reveal themselves to our understanding: they are bridges, street lamps, roads, staircases, human beings changed into fragments, spots of colour, dabs of life, immobile in this silent, circular universe.
Kaleidoscopic remains of daydreams, Charles Maze’s Anamorphoses are amulets in lunar tonalities, precious stones sliced through to expose their souls of rays and streaks, cracked by all the nuances of nature: an elixir for the eyes.
Charles draws us down to the bottom of a deep well where we discover a new world devoid of darkness and shadow. Where all is pure light playing with reality, restoring the wonder of life. Giving  back to man the essence of a vision utterly without logic but no less stupefying, like  existence and natural cycles where all is change and infinite repetition.
As I look at the towns, marine horizons, skies and circular mountains unveiled by Charles Maze, a shiver runs through my mind: could it be that his images offer a glimpse of the eternal return of the serpentine whorls of time, the idea of a place where all is united and distorted, where all is buried in a closed immensity offering us the intoxicating vertigo of infinity?
 
By Alba Romano Pace
 
                                                                         
                                                                           
                                                                             In the Eyes of the Photographer
 

                                                                                                                "The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time"
                                                                                                                                                                                        W. Butler Yeats
 


Painting is about creating, photographing and freezing a moment in time.
Charles Maze’s photos are hostages of beauty, a call to the eternal. The ephemeral is trapped by the film. You simply look at ─ or rather allow your eyes to rest ─ on the shapes and colours that form the image.
Clouds, water, sand… shifting and flowing before the eyes. It is to matter like this that Charles Maze’s lens is drawn. The instant and the present become permanent, the transitory closure. Immobility comes alive. Charles Maze reinvents his images. From reality he constructs emblems of dream. His Chimera (as the title suggests) are fantastic constructions, an invitation to journey, a promise of calm and infinity. Their ethereal light ─ white or pink, grey or blue, silvery or golden ─ transforms a mere atmosphere into a moment of pure lyricism.
In Sources, he shows his ability to model photography, to make it material. Here again, reality loses its consistency, and water is forged like glass, liquid and malleable.  It creates unstable coils, crystallises into prisms of colour that transform a brook into a snake of water with iridescent scales.
“I like the idea that photography and painting are not incompatible”, Maze explains, revealing in the process the secret of his compositions, often so akin to impressionist paintings, but also to American abstract expressionism, as witnessed in the photos of New York, a city of a thousand horizontal and vertical lines. The shots are a labyrinth of fragmentary geometry, with their own rhythm: taut, fast, like an image of a jazz tune. Jazz, like these photos, is light and flexible. It is about speed, improvisation, the harmony of the metropolis, yet also its solitude. Big spaces, crossed by subway, bus or boat. Passing through. Period. We view these photos much as we would an unfamiliar city, from a taxi, as a perfect stranger drives us from station to hotel. Absolutely incognito, peering through the window, trying to capture the urban landscape. From state-of-the-art skyscrapers to tawdry buildings: the walls, the neon, the ripped up posters, the garbage on the sidewalk, speak to us. The bright colours express the excitement of discovering something new. More evasive beauty to capture and trap.
By offering us photographs that go deeper than the surface, Charles Maze reminds us that the words “image” and “imagine” have a common etymology.
“Photography produces fixed, not moving images”, he asserts. “Yet I don’t think it is any less alive. It creates a dialogue, a sort of invisible thread between the image and the viewer’s subconscious”.
It is with a rare sensitivity that Charles Maze weaves the transparent thread, producing the beauty of an eternal instant in time: “An image has to hold the attention of the viewer and take him or her to a place where time stands still, a permanent now”.
 
By Alba Romano Pace