I was commissioned to write this a few years ago for the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (and thank you to all the photo...
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
This Portrait is not a Portrait: Oh yes it is
"The photographs are not meant to be portraits, which is why they have no titles. It is not my intention to give expression to their personality or state of mind. Nor do I want to sketch a sociological image of contemporary youth or girls at the moment of puberty. I look for a certain mood in the pictures, in which the girls almost figure as actors. As a matter of fact I treat my models as objects which you can direct and guide. They are simply material for me."
So says Hellen van Meene, but it was a long time ago so perhaps she's changed her mind. Still, it is a bit like Magritte's pipe. The pipe's not a pipe, but the picture... the picture of the pipe is not the pipe. It's the same with the portrait. Saying the portrait is not a portrait is fine, but it doesn't mean it is the case at all.. The girl is not a girl, but the portrait is a portrait.