I remember a time when Andrzej Wajda came to my studio to see some of my photographs. He asked me: “Are these people all Japanese?”, and then would say “they almost look like Westerners here!”. But for me, they were first and foremost human beings. And if he saw a resemblance between Japanese and Polish people, and more generally Europeans, it is because today, beyond our respective grievances, stories and wounds, globalisation—and the homogenisation of our societies that it leads to—means that we all fundamentally have the same conditions of existence. For this reason, when I shoot a portrait it is of no interest to me to say that this person is in a certain location. Perhaps my approach is wrong. Perhaps some people need this kind of information to appreciate a photograph and to be able to relate to this stranger suspended on this glossy paper. What can I say to this? Nothing really. Particularly given that it is this process of relating that makes a good photograph.
A new series of black-and-white portraits by Peter-John Freeman (born 1975) will be the central exhibit on Deon Viljoen’s stand at the inaugural Cape Town Art Fair (25-27 October 2013).
Freeman is a Stellenbosch-based artist with a strong interest in black-and-white portraiture. The images to be shown, from an ongoing project simply called Station portraits, are of commuters, vendors and characters found in and around the Du Toit railway station in Stellenbosch. With these portraits Freeman manages to convey his subject’s individuality and personal ‘colour’, despite the fact that they all were photographed against the same drab grey-painted walls of the station. Freeman’s achievement lies in his discerning eye and technical control of his medium in an environment continuously in motion. He neither caricatures nor patronises his subjects. Read on …
“ Some photographers think the idea is enough.
I told a good story in my Getty talk, a beautiful story, to the point: Ducasse says to his friend Mallarmé — I think this is a true story — he says,
“You know, I’ve got a lot of good ideas for poems, but the poems are never very good.”
Mallarmé says, “Of course, you don’t make poems out of ideas, you make poems out of words.”
Really good, huh? Really true. So, photographers who aren’t so good think that you make photographs out of ideas. And they generally get only about halfway to the photograph and think that they’re done.” ”
“ What is your definition of sexiness?
A nonchalant attitude, a genetic disposition, tanned skin, secretly being really poor or really rich, a hot ass, guilty feet. You know, the usual. ”
Henrik Purienne quoted in Esquire Magazine, UK. (via purienne