What double? What bond? We see one picture with our two eyes. I see half with my own two eyes. We connect reality with our imagination. What we don’t see, we imagine; what we see, we carry onwards. This is how drive-in cinemas will become road sex, a sandpit will turn into cat shit (with the smell also making an appareance), from a watermelon you’ll get brain surgery, a withered walnut transforms into a disfunctional brain.
I’m traveling on the subway, staring out of my head, turning it this way and that, my eyes too, I see a pretty woman. I look into her eyes with complete honesty and she’s looking back at me in a way I have never experienced before. She lowers her eyes, then keeps looking back at me, she’s obviously embarrassed, I don’t get it. I see a lot of people looking at me from her left side but no one spares her a glance. I don’t understand, looking into her eyes and slowly making the realization that I’m only seeing her right eye, occasionally the corner of her lips. Her eye captivated me. I start to scan her face moving from left to right. Her forehead, eye, mouth, the line of her jaw, chin, lips, nostrils, the bridge of her nose, the middle of her forehead, other side of her jawbone, other eye, fore – … no, no, not forehead, some protrusion on her forehead. I quickly averted my eyes. I’m falling, starting to feel like shit. Empathy? But this my fault, Barni, why aren’t you more sensitive? But I didn’t see it at first?! What could she possibly think of me now, that I’m a nutcase? Nyugati station, I disembark. My heart is racing. What is this again? Maybe our eyes could have communicated if not for this stereotypical expectation in society, that a physical disfigurement means you’ll become an outcast? When I looked in her eyes I was only reading her signs, she was reading mine, I was looking at her as a whole being. As soon as I discovered her entirety, I had to realize that it wasn’t the same as my imagination and what does a person do in this case? They match their surroundings. The problem with this is how you’d look at someone, something. Physically we’re simply a bunch of objects, bodies and we categorize whatever we see with our thoughts, feelings and societal expectations. The slaps just keep on coming.
Is what we see more important? Or what we connect to it? Both are equally essential and I realize, just like a net, there’s a strong connection between reality and our imagination. They keep going back and forth, reality sends impulses to our imagination and our imagination sends them to reality.
Barnabás Neogrády-Kiss (1989, Budapest) is a freelance photographer based in Budapest, Hungary. He graduated in photography at the University of Kaposvár (BA, 2015) and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest (MA, 2017). With these series he won the Capa Grand Prize 2020.