Unlike the spiritual scenes he captured in Bali, photographer Pierre Poretti says his upcoming show at the Foreign Correspondents Club shows the contrast between royalty and reality in Cambodia.
“Street Visions” opens today at 6:30 pm and runs until Sept 29. Poretti’s subjects are varied, but the monks, shoe-shiners, and cyclo drivers of his prints are hardly unusual choices.
“Most of them have had their picture taken before,” he said.
Poretti’s style emerges in the colors of the prints. He develops the pictures with black and white film, and then uses watercolors to emphasize details or expressions.
“For me, the painting puts the soul into the picture. The click is exciting, but it is not the best part. It is the developing of the picture that is orgasmic,” he said.
The watercolor innovation came from experimenting on pictures that didn’t develop well. The real-life coloration of his subjects does not dictate what hues Poretti will pick for them in his pictures.
“I choose colors that are rich, colors that are passionate. My paintings are romantic. The emotion is up to the spectator,” he said.
Poretti’s palette includes generous amounts of dusty rose and the faded gold of French colonial buildings. The combination of these colors with a black and white background lends a nostalgia to the prints, he said.
Poretti discovered photography through traveling. He began to hone his craft on a visit to Bali and spent 17 years there.
“Bali saved my life. So many of my artist friends went to New York and got involved with drugs, sex, and rock and roll in the Eighties. When I hit 50 in Bali I panicked. But now I am in Cambodia and ready for new inspiration,” he said.
All proceeds from Poretti’s show will go to benefit street children.