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Harry Matenaer by –Bettina Rheims


“Harry Matenaer is not a young photographer, he is a photographer. The kind I don’t know very well: those who know how to disappear, completely forgotten by their subjects. But you see, he is not a reporter. He doesn’t have the old school, in the field, approach. No, he settles in, an evening at home with a young woman — he picks the pretty ones — and disappears. He doesn’t speak to them, doesn’t use any lighting, doesn’t tell them what to do. He is just happy to disappear in the intimacy of their daily lives. This absence is his trademark, symbolic of his modesty and timidity. He would be capable of apologizing for being talented. The miracle happens, the girls abandon themselves, held hostage by this imposing silent figure, with undoubtedly a certain degree of pleasure at being watched, just what it takes, his pictures are magnificent. I work so hard to develop this level of confidence, this abandon, I talk, gesticulate, get carried away … He watched me do it every day for ten years and chose to do the opposite. Bravo!”
Bettina Rheims

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