From The Journal of Contemporary Photography Volume VI, 2003, “Catany in the Heart of His Preferences” by Pierre Borhan

July 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

“All portraiture poses a recurring question: who is portrayed, the photographer or the model? The accomplices of Catany, whether their faces are stately, thoroughbred, poverty-stricken, worn by suffering, or spared the trials of life, have origins socially close to his own, but Catany does not strive to make portraits reducible to self-portraits. He searches more, among other things, for difference rather than similarity. Richard Avedon said that his portraits are ‘more a definition of myself than of someone else—a portrait of what I know, what I feel, what I am afraid of.’ The only face that obsesses Avedon is the face of death. Bill Brandt calls attention to his portraits by the dramatic intensity that he confers upon them, characteristic of his somber vision and of his taking hold of models that do not know how to resist him. In Catany, the seizure is less pressing and the affirmation of oneself less condensed, more radiant. What makes each of his models, often anonymous, become a subject of photography is due to at the same time the model (his beauty, his happiness, his ability to seduce and to move…) and to the photographer, to his power to guess, to imagine, to transform the lead into silver or gold. Changó, Kumasi, and Alexis would be without a doubt surprised to see their image, once the transfiguration is completed, rooted out as if by magic from ordinary life, and celebrated.”

Toni Catany

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