Serge Anton//Large Scale Photograph on Canvas// 5' x 7.25'
"Ever since childhood, I have been fascinated with faces. I couldn’t keep myself from looking at them, trying to read them, interpret their expression. I felt surrounded by books with a human face, in a sense. As the saying goes, quite accurately: the face is the mirror of the soul. I think it is indeed the reflection of spiritual or emotional states that humans sometimes keep hidden. A face can also simply reflect a mood, a fleeting, ephemeral disposition. Or people may, like actors, choose to wear a certain expression or playfully pull a face. In short: the human face is an extremely versatile medium.
I have always had a preference for the extreme ends of the timeline or the ages of man: childhood and the carefree liveliness and creative, fun-loving ingenuity it represents, and old age, which stands for the wisdom and the dignified serenity the passing of the years may confer. In other words: I love contrasts, contrasting human realities, largely preferring them to the middle ground, which I often find bland or characterless, predictable, or simply less inspiring.
These faces, and the looks in their eyes that enliven them, exude a mystery I hope to display (not reveal or fathom) in my portraits.
The same principle applies to places: natural landscapes and man-made architectures, and, of course, the materials and the infinite diversity of their textures, especially when they are crude and flawed. Mystery is synonymous with obscurity, but also with depth, discretion, magic, and silence – all aspects I like to explore.
As a child, I often used to haunt the office where my father worked: a gloomy, magical place, full of creepers and masks and other unusual objects from Africa and other faraway countries. This dark realm scared and fascinated me in equal measure.
The color black is so rich in nuances and contrasts it cannot be reduced to the platitude of ‘chromatic renouncement’, let alone to a complete absence of light. As Pierre Soulages said: from the color black, light springs forth, surges… The two entities are far from antithetical. And it is up to the photographer, particularly in his treatment of black and white, to reconcile these opposites and, like a magician, get them to enhance one another.
This being said, I do not like being exposed to the media spotlights, to the hullabaloo of a life replete with bling and glitter. I prefer to live and work away from the limelight and off the beaten paths. In my self-chosen retreat, I can develop my inspiration, visual acuity, and sensitivity to the world – provided the latter is not polluted by artifice and superfluity. Or, as Shakespeare expressed it: an existence led « exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything. I would not change it…"
SERGE ANTON, PHOTOGRAPH