Sunday, September 18, 2011

Portraits Of Resilience- Marco Grob

An hour before I was scheduled to leave NYC for JFK, I accidentally wondered into The Milk Gallery after my last tour of NYC's High Line, and caught Portraits of Resilience by Marco Grob. They're extremely large B&W portraits (4 feet high I'd estimate), and never have I seen such resolution in images so large (a remarkable enough feat on its own).

They're minimalist portraits, most against a white backdrop, others against black; some full length or from the waist up, others featuring only the subjects' faces. I usually don't care much for the latter, since they often tend to read like anonymous 8X10 model head shots devoid of adequate form, depth or distinction- but such is most definitely not the case here. Even these tightly cropped images compel you to not only look at them, but look into them. Mr. Grob accomplishes this in a threefold manner: through his highly selective use of lighting, the aforementioned resolution extraordinaire, and the most vital attribute inherent to any exceedingly worthwhile portraitist- the ability to cajole, coerce or facilitate some small nuance of emotional resonance (no matter how subtle) that brings it all to life.

Fortunately, for six bucks you can get the TIME commemorative issue (Sept. 19; Beyond 9/11) with over two dozen full page, high quality reproductions of said portraits. Think of it as a small but highly exceptional book of photographic portraits (which is exactly what it is)- and for twice the price you can get this. Featured are many of the major and minor players of our post 9/11 world- some heroes, some the most incredible of survivors, others still- lying, murderous bastards who in a just world should have been photographed in prison. You won't come away as did I after seeing the original wall sized prints, but appreciate them you will, nonetheless.

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