Robert Hutinski

Robert Hutinski

  Elementary Particles
Text: Dušan Rutar



This time around, Robert Hutinski's photos are quite different from those that we have been accustomed to. The fact is already saying a lot about his transformation, about him amending his shooting mode. Surely it is also a shift in himself; the change is not only present in the photos, the change is also present in the photographer. And it is important to understand what this change is about, because we can easily conclude from the photos what goes on in the photographer; the photos are always about himself even though he is not in the picture. 

We could take a risk and say at the outset that the shift is understandable if we exactly consider the images of the people who are monitored in the series Elementary Particles. The very title of the series is obviously taken from the world of quantum physics, so we could expect photos such as those that the physicists offer us to watch. We get something completely different which is much better since the task of the artist is not to imitate reality.  In the photos we primarily see people. We see individuals in the natural environment. The photographer's basic idea is therefore very simple and effective: there are always people around us and there is always the natural environment, but the people are the most important. Truly, for every man other people are the most important, not nature. The relationships between individuals and the natural environment are thus special. 

The photographer is obviously aware that people do not belong to nature, that there exists an abyss between nature and human beings and that the latter haven't been natural beings for a long time now. We as human beings cannot live in nature and Nature does not exist. That is the basic message of Robert's series. Human beings are symbolic creatures and we are the only species of animals that can create new environments in which we want to live. The series Elementary Particles testifies to that recognition and is thinking about it. 

Robert's photographs always urge us to think because he is a photographer who also thinks and not only presses the trigger. Hence, we certainly do not look at his photos and ask whether they are beautiful or not, whether they are technically sound or not. Such questioning is not pertinent to Robert's photos and this recognition is at the same time also a characteristic of any good photographer. As far as his photography goes it is much more important that the photos themselves are aware of the ideas or concepts, that they think about the consciousness or the spirit in which they are created, about the mind where we can read them, about the field which they change and transform. We thus read Robert's pictures, not just look at them. Just watching is in any case not enough to understand the images. There would be no images if people didn't use language, if they didn't talk, if they didn't construct new symbolic worlds in which they can think. For each image created by the photographer it is therefore necessary to first have an idea. And without good ideas there are no good pictures, if I can paraphrase Kurosawa. 

From the pictures it is also evident that the photographer delves into human nature and thinks about it, which means that he doesn't only detect it as if it had existed before his arrival. Nature in which people exist is therefore a metaphor. It is not a depiction of nature because nature, radically speaking, isn’t important. Nature is there as a metaphor. Robert's photos use it and depict it and this is something very difficult to do in a convincing way. Robert's photographs are convincing. A shift in the photographer’s understanding of the picture is thus directly related to the shift in his understanding of people and of himself. This shift is really great and complex. The tension between man and nature is thus featured in a special and very interesting way. 

Photos are in fact made as collages and this fact is immediately apparent. No human being is in a natural environment and it is merely implied that he is there, because he obviously does not belong there. It would therefore be misleading to think that the photographer portrays people in brightly colored natural environments. The people in the series Elementary Particles are literally mechanically placed in the natural environment and are interchangeable. You can transfer every human being from the series to any other natural environment of the same or of any other series. All this speaks to the universality of human beings and their abilities to live in any environment, adapt to it and also survive in it. 

The essence of the people is therefore invisible to the eye. Their abilities to create different worlds in which they can at home is universal, which means that every human being is potentially a resident of any world. He or she is exactly who we see in Kubrick's famous film 2001: A Space Odyssey: a star child. Robert has therefore created a series of photographs that discusses its own title: elementary particles. The elementary particle is only the invisible ability of human beings to be creative. 

This ability is of course invisible, intangible, but the photographer skillfully shows it by hinting to it; this gesture is necessary because human beings can’t simply be exposed to a natural environment by a photographer if they don't have the creative ability to create a new one. Of course, creative ability also belongs to the photographer, so he himself is a part of the same series. Hence, he is a part of what he creates, even though he isn’t there on any photo. Robert Hutinski is an inhabitant of the same series, of the same multiplicity which can’t be closed because it is infinite.