Miguel Angel Sánchez’s portraits of ordinary Egyptians — from bloggers to shoe shiners — have the familiarity of classical paintings.
The most recent images of Egypt’s ongoing upheaval depict chaotic crowds of anonymous young men and women. But since Miguel Angel Sánchez moved to Cairo in 2009, he has singled out the individual, bathing them in dramatic light and shadows like old master portraits.
“The idea,” Mr. Sánchez said, “was to make a huge portrait of a country through its people.”
Mr. Sánchez has photographed 110 residents of Cairo in his studio. Musicians. Painters. Ministers. Bloggers. Greengrocers. Shoe shiners. Political activists. Even animals. He photographs each one dramatically, with chiaroscuro, or a vivid contrast between light and dark. His images borrow a great deal from masters of Baroque painting like Caravaggio, both in their tenebrism and their realism.
The bold lighting and the intimacy of the studio let him reveal what he believes all of his subjects share: dignity – “one of the main motors of the Arab Spring,” he called it.
Mr. Sánchez has long been making portraits of the people around him. “I started in Madrid 10 years ago, taking pictures at night of the people on the streets, drunk, homeless,” he said. “I really liked to talk to them, share a cigarette, and afterwards take a portrait.”
(Lens - blog NY Times)