From the shadows of organic portraits, faces emerge to express familiar, universally experienced emotions. Giacomo Por, an internationally recognized photographer, creates a collection of abstract portraits in his latest series, Faces of the Undefined.
In this evocative collection, where silent images speak volumes, Por does not set out to tell stories or direct narratives for these soulful portraits. Viewing photography with a pre-established narrative as excessive, Por avoids orchestration, allowing the images to naturally express the human condition through primitive emotion alone.
“There are no stories behind the portraits but concepts—intuitions. All of my work lends itself to abstraction,” Por explains. With a sort of alchemy, Por brings different elements together to achieve the effect of photographic gold. In doing so, he allows the pure essence of the subject’s soul to shine through.
“For me, it really doesn’t matter who I portray in my images,” says Por, who has made a habit of leaving the models of his Faces of the Undefined series unnamed. “Contemporary art is saturated with the idea of storytelling and narratives, so I keep a distance from that approach,” he adds.
Por is also resolved in keeping a distance from the models themselves, only allowing a familiar relationship with them once the session has been completed. “I talk a lot with the people I photograph, but only after the shooting,” he asserts. By using this method, Por is able to remove himself as an influence in the process, exposing the truth of the subject in his relative emotional absence.
Beyond serving as an exquisite creative outlet, Por’s portraiture sparks metaphysical epiphanies that allow him to better understand himself. “My visions—my revelations—are a continual game of chess between my present life and the unknown beyond.”
For Por, the drive behind a portrait is less about the individual subject and more about reflecting the elements that unite humanity. “The people I find to shoot always allow me to find myself in each portrait,” he shares.
Comparing his work to a “single mirror”, Por sees a symbolic reflection of himself when looking at another person’s portrait, the photograph acting a great equalizer for the universal human experience.
Por’s portfolio is an equally balanced book of both dark and light images, working with high and low-key photography techniques:
“For me, white and black are two different doors that lead to different revelations. White and black are not a visual concern–they are not the answer to a simple question about a foreground or background. Instead, they rarefy the senses—a transient effect in which my inspiration is born.”
From silence, Por’s ideas are conceived. One to take his time in quietly developing an idea, Por often spends hours fine-tuning the lighting for a portrait until he is satisfied. “I’ve often spent an entire day thinking about where to place one candle,” he admits.
Yet despite the laborious periods involved in a shoot, Por ultimately finds great satisfaction in viewing the astonishment of his subjects when they do not recognize their faces in a portrait he captures.
Por’s visual poetry speaks volumes with his rare and unique vision of human poignancy and clear expression. His work has a cohesive resonance, yet an ever-evolving potential to seek new vistas. Presently, Por is working in Spain on a series of images that explore the juxtaposition of men with bulls.
Published in INSPADES Magazine, Issue Otto, December 2017
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Take a moment to peruse Por’s complete portfolio on his website at: giacomopor.com and on Instagram: @saturninofarandola