Duane Michals once said:
“I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody’s face in a photograph”
With that in mind, this series of faceless portrait photography by Andrea Torres Balaguer succeeds in feeling both provocative and coy, composed yet also lighthearted in it’s paint stroke addition. The richly colored clothing and backdrops adds a sense of sophisticated depth to the imagery, while the emotional void of not connecting with a subject’s face make it feel distant and opaque.
That a portrait photograph should only tell you a one-dimensional narrative is something that Michals has worked his entire career to challenge. Similarly, Balaguer’s images are shrouded in mystery and ambiguity — it is up to the viewer to interpret who the woman is, what kind of life they lead, where they may come from and so on. This preoccupation with mystery has remained a constant in Balaguer’s photography — her past work being dominated by the subconscious and the limits of dreams. Balaguer’s background in fine arts also greatly impacts her work. ‘The Unknown’ and ‘Moon’ are expertly framed; the composition of colors and positions adding meaning and depth to her photographic approach.