Photography's capacity to reproduce what is real has lead photographs to work in two classic, pictorial fields: landscape and portrait. In portraiture, photography was inspired directly by painting codes. Photography portraits waver between an exact image and a subjective evocation of the beauty or originality of the subject.
All of Ricardo Lopez Bueno's art is based around this core issue: who is my model? How to render not just the features of his face, but also her internal expression, his profound truth, and her thoughts, feelings and emotions?
As an artist, Bueno implements an eminently rigorous and highly personal process. His works are entirely and solely for artistic purposes—never commercial or editorial or even sociological ends. For his art, he looks for anonymous people whom he researches patiently and carefully, like a director who selects his actors because they represent the roles they will play. He chooses models of different ages, from a variety professions, and who are not defined by any social, geographical context or even style of dress. He exposes their faces in order to better analyze them, decipher them and to bring out their essence.
Bueno's heavy use of black—a noble, deep, dense black—fit tightly around the faces underlines his desire to exclude any context, any detail, any historical or social connotation which could distract from the concentration focussed only on the face. Removed from the chaos of the outside world, the anarchy of reality is brushed aside by the simplicity of monochrome. Bueno knows that this flat, sombre surface shuts out any visible signs and absorbs the viewer's silhouette, which becomes reflected like a mirror. From that moment on, the characters appear to defer to the wishes of the photographer and surrender their image; at that point, Bueno becomes a sort of confessor, the one who delivers his models.
The portrait is an exercise in which silence is the key word. Dense, deep silence which we find in each of Bueno's portraits, the silence which creates isolation from the outside world, from one’s occupation, one’s obligations, before the first murmurings of dialogue. Not the silence of emptiness but that which the artist transcended over time. The first topics were not determined using words, but rather through the medium of observation, as if the artist planned in this way to delve further into the subject's soul, into his most intimate inner self, into his unconscious.
Like a wary musician, Ricardo Lopez Bueno knows that the creation of a portrait resembles a waltz in three parts of unequal duration: that of the model, that of the photographer and that of the spectator. The surface of a face is like a thought surfacing. In a subject's face, we try to discover the secret in order to share it better. In the long contemplation initiated by Ricardo Lopez Bueno with his models, he has undoubtedly performed his own self-portrait.
—Agnès de Gouvion Saint-Cyr