Synopses & Reviews
Bettina von Zwehl's portraits in series impose exacting conditions on her subjects. She photographs them as they wake from deep sleep, as they hold their breath, as they recover from physical exertion, drenched in rain or listening intently to music in a darkened room. She orchestrates a climate in which they must relinquish control of the way they are represented. The resulting portraits reveal not the conscious projection of an identity but a space between the subject's private and thoughtful world and his or her public appearance. With their pared-down backgrounds and balanced compositions, von Zwehl's portraits have the texture and poise of Renaissance paintings. Their stillness arrests the viewer and demands the kind of absorption they depict. The eye is directed to the slightest details: blemishes, wrinkles, stray hairs, raised color in the cheeks, a striking variety of profiles. Surveyed in this comprehensive monograph, Bettina von Zwehl's work forms a delicate and exquisitely detailed catalogue of human physiognomy.
Essays by Joanna Lowry and Darian Leader. Introduction by David Chandler. Interview by Charlotte Cotton. Foreword by Rebecca Drew.
Surveyed in this comprehensive monograph, Bettina von Zwehl's work forms a delicate and exquisitely detailed catalogue of human physiognomy.