THROCKMORTON FINE ART
145 EAST 57th STREET,

3RD FLOOR
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10022
WILLIAM ROPP
TAFARI - He Who Inspires Awe

May 3rd – June 23rd, 2018


​Throckmorton Fine Art will host its first exhibition by the widely acclaimed contemporary French photo-artist, William Ropp, (b. 1960 Ghent), TAFARI: He Who Inspires Awe, is a collection of images mainly resulting from William Ropp’s work in Ethiopia several years ago. There Ropp used a technique he first developed in the early 1990s -- to shine a bright beam of light from a 50-year old Czech flashlight to illuminate his subjects, who are placed in total darkness and asked to stare directly into the camera lens in a pose of their own choosing. Ropp relies on an extended exposure time, as long as ten minutes, to capture the dark scene which makes the image a little blurry but sharply defines the subject’s eyes. It’s truly a unique photographic technique that makes Ropp’s work seem somewhat otherworldly, like something created by a painter.”

This technique, and Ropp’s reputation as the Shadow Sculptor, grew out of Ropp’s early career in the theater and time spent photographing images of human figures reflected in distorting mirrors. A decade ago Ropp began a series of trips, which produced new portfolios of portraits of Africans and Gypsies, Mexicans and Russians of both children and adults. Two of the outstanding series entitled, Children and Dreamt Memories from Africa are lauded for the depth of the expressions and vulnerability Ropp captured. Without giving them direction, Ropp captured his subjects’ feelings and emotions with unusual intensity and humanism.”

Arno Rafael Minkkinen, in writing about Ropp in WILLIAM ROPP Faces, said, ‘William Ropp provides his subjects with the freedom they need to participate in the portrait the way they please, the way they are. What his subjects decide to do at the moment of exposure is wholly up to them. I can hear them calling out their commands before the click is made. ......The signature is in the eyes.”

In 2010 Ropp started working in color with portrait photography dominating his attention. The “TAFARI: He Who Inspires Awe” exhibition at Throckmorton makes the best use of color by juxtaposing the mesmerizing images of Ethiopians against the verdant natural setting where they live.

Ropp is the author of several books on the art of photography and has enjoyed exhibitions and workshops for photographers in many locales. The Musée de la Photographie Charleroi, Belgium and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris jointly organized two recent successful exhibitions. Ropp’s work is included in public collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museet for Fotokunst Odense, Denmark, and The New York Public Library. Today, Ropp lives and works in Nancy, France where he continues to produce and develop his own richly toned, black and white and colored portraitures. 

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