Monday, May 6, 2013

Mark Peckmezian's portrait of Derek (Contact Photography Festival)

During the month of May the Contact photography festival will be going on and there will be plenty of exhibitions, shows, panels, workshops and events. Some of the major exhibitions includes the work of Sebastião Salgado, Erik Kessels, Arnaud Maggs and Martin Parr. There will also be works by some renowned filmmakers like Michael Snow (The Viewing of Six New Works), Chris Marker, and Jerry Schatzberg.

One of the highlights is the exhibition Portrait by the photographer Mark Peckmezian at Harbourfront Centre. The exhibition includes a dozen portraits of interesting and stylish young people. The models are framed in a way that seems both defining and elusive. They are defining in regards to how they are able to convey a sense of the model's personality while also being elusive as there is still the sense that something remains hidden.

The photograph that best illustrates this, and which is one of the more striking, is a portrait of Derek Bogart from the movie Tower. It is a portrait of Derek from the back set against a grey background. In it his head is tilted to the left, revealing his bald spot and shaggy brown hair swept to the right side.

There is a photographic film criticism element to the portrait as through its portrayal of Derek it is able to succinctly highlights some of Tower's themes. The single gray background is like the blandness surrounding Derek's day-to-day routine. Derek's bald spot is emphasized which is one of his many insecurities. Derek's shaggy hair brings to mind the furry animals in Tower, like the dogs and the raccoon. And his faded denim jacket is just one item from his unique wardrobe, which is another thing that makes him stand out. But then there is the photograph's soft lighting that gives it a mysterious aura. Derek is also looking away, which suggests the unknowability of his character.

The mysteries of Tower still inspire contemplation and its meaning has yet to be fully revealed.

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