Silent Landscapes

by Gabriela Torres Ruiz

Our contemporary thinking about silence often sees it as an absence or a lack of speech or sound, a negative condition. But I have found an interior dimension of silence, a sort of stillness of mind, which is not a void but a rich space.

As an architect, the subject of space is at the center of my interest with its atmospheric interaction of light, color, and shadow. I have been in search of both natural landscapes and built spaces that suggest the feeling of silence, exploring how silence can be captured photographically as a tangible space. I found places that had been dislodged from their original context and sacred places that were abandoned or forgotten.

Throughout the photo essay the viewer witnesses the fate of built interior spaces, a reminder that every human-made thing is born from the earth and is shaped by the constant rhythm of nature. In the end, everything we make will return to dust. These diptychs—images of natural places paired with images of decaying sacred structures—suggest the inevitable progression of linear time. These are the places where silence has taken over.

These images are part of a larger body of work that can be found in Gabriela Torres Ruiz’s book, Silence, published in 2017 by Hatje Cantz Verlag.1