SARTORIAL LOOKS #40
PHOTODOCUMENTARY | Art meets daily life, in Malagasy photographer Pierrot Men’s Soatana series.
Born in 1954 in South Midongy, Madagascar, Pierrot Men now manages a photography lab, Labo MEN in Fianarantsoa. Since 1985, Men’s work has been shown in over 40 national and international exhibitions, and appeared in nine books.
In spite of the obstacles and challenges of life in a politically and economically unstable country, Men captures the poignant and moving moments in lives lived much differently from our own. His ability to convey this sense of distance and connection through composition, spontaneity, and craft recalls the work and style of Cartier-Bresson.
In Torn from the Continent Pierrot Men examines the moods, textures, instants and moments of a people, the Malagasy of Madagascar, whose lives are animated by moments of joy, trepidation and the search for stability and comfort, perhaps even a place in a larger picture that we in the Western world rarely think about. Born of a Chinese father and Malagasy mother, Men, whose name means light in Chinese, provides an unscripted and impassioned view of life in another world to which we are bound by our common humanity.
Men shoots primarily with a Leica M6, using 35 and 28 mm lenses. “ I essentially work in black and white,” Men says. “When I started there were no good color laboratories. The colors were false and that discouraged me. Therefore I work in black and white. I do everything from A to Z, black room, developing, framing etc. and I do not regret it.” In a country such as Madagascar, where the procurement of rudimentary photographic supplies is difficult at best, Men’s images tell a story about the photographer as well as the subject.
Image courtesy of Pierrot Men. All rights reserved.