Grégoire Korganow, Père et fils, from PRIVATE 49 – FRANCE présences
A black background. A stark single light source. Two men stand in front of my lens. They are not the same age. One is approaching sixty, the other is just 30. Father and son. Bare-chested, skin against skin. They know neither what to do, nor how to hold themselves. Frozen. I ask one to put his hand on the shoulder of the other. Little by little, their bodies relax. The son places his arm around the neck of his father. Then the father rests his head on the shoulder of his son. He closes his eyes. The photos done, they stay in each other’s arms. The moment is prolonged. It is without doubt the arrival of my son in my life that has given me the desire to take these portraits. He is called Marco. His skin is black, he was born in Rwanda.
I remember the enthusiasm of a friend ‘it’s crazy how much he resembles you!’ Is that true? And me? Do I look like my father? And do all the sons I have photographed look like their father?
I had thought at one time to call this work ‘Inherited’. Looking at these portraits, we search for resemblances. We scrutinise the lines of the face, compare gestures, attitudes. We imagine a story. We attempt to penetrate the mystery of the relationship. The nakedness of the bodies makes things less clear, blurring our presumptions. I find this portrait of my father and me surprising. Why do I embrace him? I had not touched him since my childhood. He is looking at the lens, smiling and proud. I had not thought to find so much tenderness when starting these portraits. I thought that the complexity of my relationship with my father would lead to more cutting images. These photographs just say to my father and my son that I love them.
(Grégoire Korganow | Père et fils, PRIVATE 49, pages 20-23)