In 2018, Daniel Holfeld presented a departure from his traditional photography style with a series debuted at luxury department store Brown Thomas in Dublin. Invited by the Selfridges group, the store's owner, Holfeld's work was not only exhibited but also featured in a front window tableau alongside international designers like Dries Van Noten, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, and Chloe. This body of work, named Portals, deviates from his usual style of fashion photography and focuses on Marrakesh's El Bahia Palace, a 19th-century masterpiece in Morocco.
Holfeld reveals intricate details from his time in Morocco through the interplay of darkness and light, consciously capturing the silence amidst opulence. The series explores what remains concealed in shadows, giving equal importance to the dimly lit spaces as to the sun-filled ones. Holfeld's photographs delve into a delicate dance between public and private realms, symbolically connecting the living world with that of the deceased.
The monochromatic palette accentuates the intricate details of Arabic architectural marvels, showcasing a captivating interplay of geometric patterns, ornate arabesques, and delicate calligraphy. The absence of colour directs the viewer's focus to the essence of form and structure, prompting contemplation of the inherent elegance and complexity embedded in the designs.
Furthermore, the lack of colour serves as a metaphorical device, prompting viewers to transcend tangible limitations and explore the abstract realms of spirituality and symbolism inherent in Arabic architecture. In the realm of art, these photographs evoke reverence and curiosity, encouraging viewers to unravel the enigma within the masterful craftsmanship.
They transcend mere documentation, becoming portals to a captivating dance of shadows and forms where the past converges with the present, and the tangible meets the intangible.