Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Paciu Portraits

Ion Paciu is a professional photographer and teacher of photography who is currently engaged on a project of capturing portraits of strangers he meets on the streets of London, a project he calls People I didn't know.

Having once endured a photo shoot for a book jacket, I know how important it is for a photographer to establish a rapport with their subject so they will allow you to look into their soul. That is why his pictures are so surprising: photos taken with natural light and no trickery. Portraits of people with whom Ion has no relationship. People who have trusted him enough to expose themselves to his lens.

It was my previous post about the Fayum portraits that made me think Ion's work would make a lovely companion piece to that blog: these two pictures of his with their 100-yard stares have much in common with those Egyptian paintings executed so long ago. In Ion's words, 'People I didn't know is a homage to human nature, the art of photography and a quest to bring together our solitary London souls.' Ancient and modern, these are extraordinary portraits, whether they have been created with paint and beeswax or paper and pixels, with the vast distance of over 1700 years between them.

John Berger wrote an essay on the Fayum portraits. Here is an extract: 'I've got a portrait out my pocket. There's a silence in her face. She appeals for nothing. They appeal for nothing, the Fayum faces, they ask for nothing. They look at us and their look says, 'We know we are alive. And you are alive because you are looking at us.'

Stay tuned . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anne,

    Just to mention that a selection of these photographs will be exhibited by the Romanian Cultural Institute (part of the Romanian Embassy) next year in London in a private exhibition.

    Also, a book with a selection of about 100 images will be launched at the exhibition opening.

    Keep in touch

    Ion Paciu