One´s Own Arena is the final moment in Cortes´s sense of place Trilogy, after Things Here and Things Still to Come (2011) and Costa (2013). This time his territory is Toyama, Japan.
As the title alludes, Cortes creates an arena of visual relationships, portraying men and women in their own circle of confidence and the city’s dark alleys, bars, plants and objects. All is mixed among sequences of intimate images of women in hotel rooms and houses, a trademark of his work.
Key to the exploration are the surfaces, the superficiality of things, as photography is, by nature, superficial. Skin, texture, light and shadow and even film itself is revealed as the essence of what is to be known.
The feeling is looser than his previous books, and the overall effect is one of freedom and confidence, much like a space probing an unknown land.
Cortes is not only appropriating Toyama and making it his own territory, he is placing photography´s limitations and flaws at center stage in order to find the heart of his photographic language.