THE ART OF CHIAROSCURO WAS DEVELOPED FIRST IN THE RENAISSANCE. BASICALLY IT WAS A TECHNIQUE WITH WHICH THE ARTIST WORKED FROM A PAPER’S BASE TONE TOWARD LIGHT BY USING WHITE PAINT, OR TOWARD DARK USING INK. PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT. THE ORIGINAL PROCESS OF DEVELOPING USES CHEMICALS TO TRANSFORM AN IMAGE OF LIGHT INTO SHADES OF DARKNESS. APPLIED ON WHITE PAPER IT ARE THOSE SHADOWY FORMS THAT COMPOSE THE IMAGE.
Photography is all about light and shadow. Contrasts that create an image simply by opposing positives and negatives. During the Renaissance this technique was applied in drawing and paintings. Yes, even woodcuts and reliefs used the technique of “shading”. The official name originates from Italy, the country where the Renaissance bloomed to it’s peak. Chiaroscuro means nothing more than light-dark. An art form more known under the French name clair-obscur.
Sometimes when you move around in crowded places you might stumble upon something that can only be described as a hidden treasure. Hidden in the shadows of its busy surroundings, but waiting and ready to be revealed and takes its place in the light. When following a trail on Facebook we came upon Mateo, a 33 years old French photographer and plastic artist. Mateo has been interested in photography for as long as he can remember and started his professional career in the art about 4 years ago. So how come we didn’t hear about him before? For sure it is not due to the quality of his work, which is outstanding. No, its simply because it is a crowded world out there and sometimes it takes a little chiselling to make true beauty appear out of the shadows. Clair-obscur.
Clair-obscur is the technique where an artists uses the strongest contrast between dark and light, in order to make his subject really stand out. It is what Mateo did with his models in his Clair-obsur series. Through the use of strong focussed light he dissolves shadow parts and let the natural beauty of his subject emerge. The effect is dramatic and sensual. As mentioned before, Mateo describes himself as a plastic artist. This means he creates set ups, with or without people in them, with the purpose to take pictures of them. Everything is calculated, within the tiniest details. His work can be divided in 3 main categories: Art photography, which shows a reflexion of the meaning of the image or special concept. “On the spot” which excludes his usual practise of creating a set up and is more spontaneous, even though Mateo’s subjects for this art form are more geometric, static and architectural elements. And male photography, in which Mateo explores the beauty of the male face and body. It is mostly in this last group that he uses either bright colored backgrounds or a chiaroscuro effect by playing with light and shadow.
Mateo, who is also the official photographer for the Mister Gay France Committee, lives and works in France’s capital city Paris, where he has the fortunate advantage of having his own photo studio. His wonderful work can be seen on both his Facebook page and his official website. And of course here, on BeautifulMag where we without doubt will feature more of Mateo’s work in the future. Much more. –BM-
MATEO | BEAUTIFULMAG
MATEO PHOTOGRAPHY | BEAUTIFULMAG