Pierre Gonnord, ‘Iris’, 2009, Galería Juana de Aizpuru

About Pierre Gonnord

Channeling the spirit of classical portraiture in photographic works, Pierre Gonnord captures the marginalized and invisible members of society in elegant portraits. He has traveled to cities and villages in France and Spain, the American South, and Japan, finding his subjects among heavily tattooed Japanese yakuza, the Roma, urban homeless youth, the blind, farmers, and coal miners. His lush, large-scale prints, centered upon the dramatically lit faces of his subjects, whose heads emerge from inky-black backgrounds, recall portraits by Rembrandt, Velázquez, and, at times, El Greco. Before he begins to shoot, Gonnord gets to know his sitters, the better to photograph them in all their dignity, complexity, and beauty. “Sometimes hostile, almost always fragile, and very often wounded behind the opacity of their masks, they represent social realities and sometimes another concept of beauty,” he says.

French, b. 1963, Cholet, France, based in Madrid, Spain