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Jan Rattia: Tease


The body bears strange fruit. It shouldn’t be pinned down. It takes all—parts and light. A scene becomes a single sight, or a group. Together the form and volume of a person can become a language, a landscape of personality and story. Intimate. The bodies of Jan Rattia’s Tease, at the Houston Center for Photography, hope to become whole people. Personal connections are important in establishing bonds of trust. The depths of the unconditional advance the possibilities of Rattia’s photography. The men are confessed in profession and form but they are not cretins of those alliances. We each make ourselves in shape and trade, but we are not perfectly defined by those endeavors. The habits of commitment and long-term projects are questionable and vast.

How do we each desire dignity to build our own stories? Risks of tenderness feed the respect of identity. Rattia’s works have a cinematic commitment to the sitters. Light is intentional and specific. The portraits consume flesh and atmosphere. Scenes may confuse. Photography has a way of needing time, both literally and psychologically. Places unknown embellish the possibilities of viewers. What does happen also does not. Created moments inside frames tell stories, or not. Photos are not of moments; they are concerned with creating such things. Glimpses of something happening allow for easy access but do not detract from conceptual involvement.

Uncomfortable is ok.

How do we think about stories? Are there new ways to form libretto? Perhaps in whispers and currents that culminate in collected coo and cues. Interpretation is for the viewer in Rattia’s works. They are peeled apart to see things that he doesn’t necessarily want fully resolved. Individual’s frames of reference help dig into palatable formation. Close watch keep ends nearby, but truth is not easy. Knowing the specific vocation of the men and setting of the imagery may not necessarily be important. They are inside and dark, escaped in environment, poised in position, and garland in knowledgeable lights. The men are intimate as are all lives; occupation glimpses a piece and we each do many things else with our lives outside of career.

Who people are is a performance. Depictions arrange personal intimacies. Think about unanswered questions and human connections. Establishing networks can tell how people participate. Rattia’s Tease is after such clarities. “Everyone gets to participate in photography.” He wants subjects and viewers to be who they are. Points of view are contributions and light, sculptural and touched, feeds the importance of the photographs’ content. Comfort can come now. It bleeds through, but nothing is as easy as it may seem. Windows are ways to look into beliefs and bargains, men and orbits, split seconds and consequences. Together they unfold, but only if you let them.


Efrem Zelony-Mindell

Efrem Zelony-Mindell is a poet, photographer and independent curator based in New York, USA. 



Jan Rattia: Tease
May 12 – July 2, 2017
Houston Center For Photography
1441 W Alabama St
Houston, TX 77006


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