In Peruvian Quechua, “sami” is a term that translates to “refined energy” and is used as a name for the life force that inhabits and connects everything.
In this photographic series titled Sami (2002-11), life-sized black and white portraits are juxtaposed with large-scale colour images of skies in order to compare humanity to nature, micro to macro, and private internal life to external force.
This series is a personal diary documenting the places I’ve been, the life stages I’ve passed through, the ones I may enter, and where I am at present. The photographs were taken in numerous countries around the world including Peru and my homeland, Canada.
Because the photographs capture a moment in the life of their subjects, they reflect time, the surface layer of reality. The stillness of the portraits imply inner depth while the skyscapes trap movement. Seen together, the photographs evoke a larger picture of life’s constant shift between calm and action, showing stillness as the face of contrast and change, unsettled and uncertain.
Spirit, you are separate from the container of your impermanence. Through patience and attention, your subtle presence is revealed.
Nuance (2008-14) takes the convention of the nude beyond a simple portrayal of beauty. By capturing unconscious, relaxed, and characteristic gestures of the body, the individual in the portrait is revealed.
The subject of Pedro’s photographs is the moment when the model relaxes his/her guard, capturing transparency and self-revelation, subtle shades of meaning, slight degrees of differences, feelings, and tones. Pedro’s use of natural light sympathetically illuminates the vulnerability of the subject, allowing the viewer to connect with the person in the portrait.
Study of Structure and Form
STUDY OF STRUCTURE AND FORM
“Both our nature and the spirit of the natural world is revealed by form.”
Starting with the Arctic at Lake Talvatis, Sweden, Isztin’s photographic series cover a wide range of environments, including other parts of Europe, North and South America, and Asia.
Isztin waits for the perfect combination of elements to create serene portraits of place with the deliberation and sensitivity of a classical painter. Using traditional methods, he shoots with film and natural light.
“While seeking places of contemplation in the world around me” says Isztin, “I became fascinated with the relationship between natural order and human influence. In photographing these unique places, I discovered that it is through attentive and patient study of shape, design, and structure that the spirit of our natural world and its inhabitants is revealed.”
The series Remains (2007-12) documents structures that are a part of our industrial landscape. These monolithic subjects raise questions about history, purpose, and permanence in our disposable modern environment.
These photographs were taken in Canada, Spain, Peru and Brazil. Objects tell stories because of what they were and what they are now. Their permanence evokes stories, places, lives, and a way of life that has changed over time.
Pedro Isztin’s work is a testament to the human spirit, where external and internal borders are crossed and experiences shared. “If analysis with a camera lens is also an analysis of the human spirit, Pedro Isztin has succeeded in drawing, with technique and originality, the profile of his subjects’ souls.” (Daniela Mascella, Image Inside. Rome, Italy, June/July 1993).
Born in 1964 to a Colombian mother and Hungarian father, Isztin lives in Ottawa, Canada. The originality of Pedro’s photographic work reflects the richness of his diverse heritage through which he explores and reveals. Portraits, nudes and environmental landscapes lend themselves to the universal truths Pedro uncovers and discovers, with diversity and depth as continuous themes in his work.
Choosing subjects from around the world, Isztin’s work portrays a sympathetic connection to nature and humanity. His intimate portraits reveal landscapes with “spirit” and “human nature that is, wherever you may find it, by definition universal.”*
Pedro’s photographs reflect the richness of his diverse heritage. Born in 1964 to a Colombian mother and Hungarian father, Isztin lives in Ottawa, Canada. His recent work explores monolithic structures, (in the series Remains), inner life and outer world, (the installation Sami), the subtlety of a human gesture, (Nuance), and studies of land and humankind’s influence on nature (in The River, Study of Structure and Form, and The Glade,).
The River debuted at Ottawa’s City Hall Gallery, in the Fall of 2012 in conjunction with Ottawa’s Photography Festival X and Nuit Blanche. In 2016, the book “The River” will be released, showcasing the series in it’s entirety.
Pedro has received various awards to support the creation of his projects, including an Ontario Arts Council Award, 2006, and a Canada Council For the Arts: Photography Project Grant, 1999. Isztin’s work has been exhibited internationally and featured in photography books, Full of Grace, 2006, New York, and magazines such as Contact Sheet, #148, 2008, Syracuse, NY, Private, #37, 2007, Italy, and Ottawa’s Guerilla, #17, Vol 5, 2008. His work is represented by Wallack Galleries and is also in the permanent collection of the Canada Council Art Bank and The City of Ottawa’s Fine Art collection.
Visit www.pedroisztinfoto.com to view Pedro’s photography.
* Line Dezainde, Pedro Isztin: L’insatiable quête du destin, trans. Lisa Poushinsky, Voir.ca, #21, Décembre 2006. “…où qu’il soit, la nature humaine étant par définition universelle.”
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