A portraiture of Mankind by Patrick Wack
Many photographers are able to capture the subtle peculiarities of a human face, but a few can immortalize a moment, making it a part of the bigger picture. In Patrick Wack’s series Here There Are Men people and places exist together, inseparable from one another, elevating simple portraiture to a greater meaning.
Born in France and having lived in US, Sweden, Germany and China, the author has experienced both the western and eastern culture with their undeniable differences, but also with their hidden similarities. Patrick’s work goes beyond documentary, with his subjects looking intuitively familiar, regardless of social status, age and gender. Here There Are Men consists of 129 portraitures of people from different parts of China (Mongolia, Tibet, Chongqing, Yunnan and Shanghai), but instead of individual images, it feels like they’re all pieces of the same puzzle, building the face of Mankind bit by bit.
Marred with preconceived notions on what a better place “should” look like, Aballe morphed his series around the medium’s romanticized portrayals of nature and pockets separate from contemporary society. Though picturesque, each image is tinged with “subtle tension” – even idealized medium format photographs can’t completely mask the unsettling truth that perfection simply cannot be attained. Instead, each frame leaves the viewer yearning just beyond the picture, for a world that could almost be.