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Photo Series ‘Limbo’ Shows Men Half-Submerged in Water

man backfloat in water

The Free Dictionary defines “Limbo” as “states of oblivion, confinement, or transition.” It further elaborates that it “is derived from the theological sense of Limbo as a place where souls remain that cannot enter heaven, for example, unbaptized infants. Limbo in Roman Catholic theology is located on the border of Hell, which explains the name chosen for it. The Latin word limbus, having meanings such as “an ornamental border to a fringe” and “a band or girdle,” was chosen by Christian theologians of the Middle Ages to denote this border region. English borrowed the word limbus directly, but the form that caught on in English, limbo, first recorded in a work composed around 1378, is from the ablative form of limbus, the form that would be used in expressions such as in limb, “in Limbo.”

Photographer Rodrigo Dada has his own take on that state which is neither here nor there, through his series simply called Limbo.

man submerged in water

The El Salvador based lens man shot a series of portraits, all of men, half submerged in water, imaginably doing a back float. The images show the men from the upper chest to the head. The final print of the photo involves a 90 degree tilt to the left. What you get is an upright image of the subject.

man floating in water

For Dada, these pictures are an expression of struggle between two choices. It is a depiction of a man that can go either of two ways. The first is to descend into the water, symbolizing conflict and struggle, perhaps even death. The other is to emerge to the surface, embracing the light and celebrating life. The illusion created by rotating the image 90 degrees left creates a visual of a man trapped between two realities.  Personal conflict in particular is what Dada would like to express.

man in limbo water

“The subject is found buoyant in between dreams and reality, calm and violence. This project is about threat and confusion: to float or to drown.” Limbo is an ongoing project of Dada, which you can view along with his other collections here.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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