The dynamic between a photographer and a non-photographer as his subject is evident. The photographer adjusts. When a photographer tries to take a portrait of a fellow photographer, it's a play of power. Such is this insight from Chinese portraitist Zhong Weixing.
"When a photographer takes a portrait of someone who knows nothing about photography, the encounter is an unbalanced one: on one side, the photographer has clear vision of what they want and how to get it; on the other, the model knows only the image of themselves they want to show, but knows not what they are projecting and how to project it, armed only as they are with the simple tricks of pose and posture. Tricks that often lead to disappointment.
When, however, a photographer snaps the portrait of another photographer, that balance of power is quite different. It is a duel, on equal terms, despite the fact that only one of them holds the weapon, the same one who will eventually have the final word, with a finger on the trigger of the shutter." -- Alan Fleischer on Zhong Weixing
Weixing's series "Face to Face" throws back to French photographer Nadar, who planned o draw portraits of the greatest glories of the moment and group them into panoramic sheets in 1854, gathering more than 250 authors, writers, journalists -- thus the Nadar Pantheon.
Weixing's is a sort of pantheon for today's greatest photographers, facing Yann Arthus-Bertrand, François-Marie Banier, Bruno Barbey, Valérie Belin, Martial Cherrier, JH Engström, Bernard Faucon, Alain Fleischer, Robert Frank, Alberto García-Alix, Jean Gaumy, Harry Gruyaert, Françoise Huguier, Dominique Issermann, JR, William Klein, Jean-Pierre Laffont, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Sarah Moon, Vik Muniz, Martin d'Orgeval, ORLAN, Martin Parr, Vincent Perez, Pierre and Gilles, Miguel Rio Branco, Sebastiao Salgado, Klavdij Sluban, Christine Spengler, Sabine Weiss as a duel of photographic dialogue.
Weixing tries not to reveal the person behind the character but to find the photographer behind the person. Catch the display Zhong Weixing: Face to Face at the European House of Photography, running through January 7.
Images are from the press kit.