Tide In Tide Out is a visual meditation filmed by Denisse Ariana Pérez and inspired by a regular practice of breathwork and sitting in stillness. Capturing her awe for the human form with her signature ethereal style, the film brings the dreamlike quality of her still photographs to life and invites contemplation on connection with others, with breath and the life around us.
Tide In, Tide Out is a beautiful cross over between two of your disciplines; writing and photography. Did you write the words or take the photographs first?
I wrote the script first. This really allowed me to set the mood for what I wanted to visually capture in the shoot and what were the emotions I wanted to evoke.
Where was it filmed?
In the beautiful island of Paros in Greece.
“I think people need to connect with one another more than ever, not just to nature.”
What inspired you to make a film about breath?
Meditation and breathwork are important parts of my life. They have helped me recenter and connect with myself in a profound way and have allowed me to transcend beyond the sometimes limiting narratives of my mind or my heart. Meditation can seem daunting at first, it definitely was for me at the beginning. But there are meditative opportunities everywhere around us, in nature, in the water, even in the chaos of the urban world. Following the cadences of nature, the pace of the clouds in the sky, the swaying of tree leaves, or the rhythm of waves is in itself a meditative act. Nature is constantly moving and breathing just like we are, and I wanted to bring that parallel to life through this short film.
Moreover, I think people need to connect with one another more than ever, not just to nature. And breathing along with nature and along with someone else is probably the most intimate thing we can do. It is very tantric and wholesome.
Are there any other themes or concepts that inspired it?
Transgenerational love. In the video, you see intimacy and love among people of different ages, between a mother and her children, and between lovers.
“I find a lot of beauty in people, and probably that state of awe I find myself in is reflected in the images I make.”
There’s little movement from the camera or subjects aside from the water, could you share a little bit about why you made this creative choice?
I like to create imagery that is contemplative, or at least that invites people to contemplate. I don’t like to rush from one scene to the other, I want to stay observing the same subject and look at it in new ways over and over again. I love nuances and subtleties, the little details that morph between one moment into another. This is the way I like to photograph, and also the way I look at movement. We are so used to rushing from one scene to another, one sound to another, that it can distract us from the main message, and from the beauty of letting things move organically.
You capture the human form so beautifully and in a primal sort of way, emphasising vulnerability and loveability. The curves, musculature, shadows. When I look at your images I find myself admiring the human form in the same way I’d admire an animal in the wild, as something magnificent, something part of nature — which is something we forget. Would you say this is what you’re trying to convey?
That was a beautiful analogy. I would say that I can connect with that sentiment. I want to dignify and elevate my subjects when I shoot them. I want them to look ethereal yet grounded and raw and real at the same time. I find a lot of beauty in people, and probably that state of awe I find myself in is reflected in the images I make.
“Water is medicine, it is nourishing, it can invite you to reflect and at the same time wash away emotions and thoughts that no longer serve you.”
Do you spend a lot of time choosing people to shoot?
I would say I am very selective about who I photograph, I need to feel a click inside of me. My gut tells me if it is the right match or not. Sometimes it is so intuitive I just need to see the person for a couple of seconds on the street or in a photo and I will know if I want to photograph them or not. For this specific project I had the help of a casting director, so I informed her of the types of people I was looking for and she provided different options for me to choose from.
Your work often features water and you even made a photobook called Agua. What is it that draws you to water?
Water is medicine, it is nourishing, it can invite you to reflect and at the same time wash away emotions and thoughts that no longer serve you, it reminds us to be fluid, to not be static or rigid, it invites us to be present. You don’t even need to be in the water to experience all of these things, just by sitting beside it, it can be this powerful.
What do you enjoy about this medium for expression when compared to photography or writing?
I think still photographs can be very limiting, they are two dimensional and mute. They leave a lot of room for the imagination of the viewer which of course can be very powerful in itself. I feel like a moving image has the power to go deeper with certain matters. It allows for more nuance, emotional excavation and movement. Film is the sweet spot between both mediums, it can touch verbal people as well as visual people.
Do you have plans to create more short films?
Yes, I would like to create more short films and continue to combine things that I love like conceptualising, writing and image-making. I’m finishing the script for a new short film I’m hoping to shoot this Fall as we speak, so stay tuned.
What themes, or techniques are you inspired to explore next through your work?
A theme I would like to continue to explore is using the photographic process as a therapeutic process. On a technical level, I would like to experiment with shooting a video piece with an analog film camera since I have not done that yet and I usually take photographs using an analog camera.