– ULUPUH Gallery, Zagreb, 2012
“A portrait of a city as a portrait of the artist’s soul”
Excellent portrait and fashion photographer Anto Magzan is equally captivated by cities, enchanted with the awareness that he can use his camera to portray them as he would a person. In both instances, the process of getting to know each other is a complex one. There is also the risk of missing the most salient parts. It requires the photographer to open up to it, as much as the model. In the exhibition Sydney Light&Shade, Magzan thus reveals the biography of Sydney, and for the most part, his own autobiography!
I shot Sydney the way I found it. It was an important discovery realizing that it was a city possessed of the best lighting for shooting black and white photography! Thanks to its tall apartment buildings, the light reflects off the surfaces perfectly, says Magzan. The air is very dry and the sky is bluer. One would think that light would be the crucial element of discovering this almost idyllic setting, yet he lists all of this because it “creates a very intense black through the application of a yellow filter”! So, both light and shadow are at play? Yes, but Magzan is not a photographer of the typical photographic interplay of light and shadow with which many excellent photographers have a lifelong connection. He creates chiaroscuro visions of Sydney that he additionally dims by filters.
This is where darkness is explored and expressed. And it is a meaningful darkness! Magzan explores the amount of darkness a human eye can withstand while looking at a work that needs to be discerned, even if the assistance offered by light has been almost “destroyed.” The painter of darkness does not make tourist allowances. He offers a new image of the city, and a new pleasure, if the observer and photographer are able to find common ground, where no emotion and no state are out of bounds!
– Ana Lendvaj, journalist and art critic