Saturday, 5 April 2014

Patrick de Wilde | Faces

Alessandra Meniconzi, a friend and herself a fabulous photographer, introduced me to the photography of Patrick de Wilde...whose work she liked very much, and one whose type of photography counterbalanced the recent commercialism in the realm of travel and cultural photography.

Naturally, I checked the website out...and in its gallery simply titled Faces, I found brilliant portraiture of ethnic groups ranging from Omo Valley's Mursi tribals, to Kyoto's geishas, to Brazil's Amazonians, to Malian Tuaregs, and to Vietnam's Caodaists...and of course, Sadhus from India and Nagaland tribes people.

Simple ethnic portraiture has been, in some sense, maligned recently and described by some as too simple. However, portrait photographs have been made since virtually the invention of the camera, and will continue to be one of the most sought after photographic styles. Lighting, of course, is one of the main techniques in portrait photography, and these portraits have all made in the same way.

All the 265 portraits are vertical...none are in my favored landscape format, as the photographer sought to focus on nothing but the faces of his subjects. Simple, no stagecraft, and powerful.

Patrick de Wilde is a French photojournalist, and has served as editor-in-chief of several French travel photography magazines. He has contributed to international travel and wildlife publications including BBC Wildlife and Géo for over twenty years, and has photographed thousands of men and women on five continents over the past decades. He started his professional life as a photojournalist in Asia, and focused on the Buddhist and Jain religious traditions, and shared the life ways of Buddhist monks in Thailand and Burma.