My father loved Amber. He used to spend hours getting up close and macro-personal with various pieces of amber, placing them on our kitchen table or on the stoep outside and playing with the light on them. Lighting them from the front, back, top, bottom. His fascination with being able to explore objects like these with a macro lens is what drew me to macro photography. The seemingly infinite possibilities of content from such a small area simply by moving one or two millimetres forward or backward, left or right. I believe that is what my father loved about amber: the window into numerous worlds carried inside these little time capsules. Little globs of fossilized tree resin bringing their history, their dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the present moment right in front of his lens. Being entirely aware that his existence is a blip on the radar of objects like these, my father just about knelt down to these objects with camera in hand as his way of paying respect to their endurance, strength and beauty.
The excitement that this man had when there was ever a bubble in a piece of amber or a crystal he found or bought was quite something to witness. And it was infectious. The idea that bubbles like these contained air from aeons ago was equal parts mind-boggling and humbling. It was motivation enough that whenever we traveled to the Spitzkoppe mountains in Namibia, we would stop and look through the stones on sale for crystals with bubbles in them. To this day, I can feel my own excitement build when I notice a tiny bubble in a crystal.
I believe this is what many of us loved about my father; his ability to bring about excitement and appreciation for the small things. And to simultaneously make us think about the big things. This website, with this blog, is the start of a platform from which we can reflect on and celebrate my father’s photographic career, and indeed his life. My father left a huge archive of both digital and analogue photographs spanning a wide variety of content. As I browse through his hard drives and slides, I hope to be sharing regularly more about some of my, and his favourite images and the stories behind them.
Browse through the newly revamped website www.tonyfigueira.com, which has a small (but growing) selection of photographs for sale, as well as links to press articles and his CV and exhibition list. Follow tonyfigueira.com on Instagram and Facebook (@tonyfigueiraphotography).