William Ropp

France / °1960 /
William Ropp, known as “the shadow sculptor,” has a unique style of portraiture. Ropp often places his subjects in complete darkness taking photographs by using long exposures and a 50-year-old Czech flashlight for dramatic illumination effects. He elicits the “soul” of his sitters while making his psychological portraits that are haunting, emotional, and humanistic portraits. (http://www.holdenluntz.com/exhibitions/face-beauty-photographers-quest-inspired-portrait?page=1)

“French photographer William Ropp is known for the unique style in which he captures the mysterious aspects of human nature. Placing his subjects in absolute darkness during extended exposures, he uses a flashlight to paint a magical effect of illumination and shadow in what he calls ‘The dance of light’.” (http://silentbeings.tumblr.com/page/269)

William Ropp made his first series of black-and-white photographs in 1988: those were images of human figures reflected in distorting mirrors. Ropp continued working with the human body in the studio, experimenting with lighting and photographic technology. In the early 90’s, he found the style that would make him famous. Ropp would plunge figures of models, which, as it is, perplexed the viewer with the complexity of their intricate postures, into darkness and “paint” their body outlines with a bright beam of light. He would increase the exposure time to 10 minutes to make the image a bit blurred but would focus one’s attention on the main thing: the eyes, the facial expression, the shoulder line, or the arm’s expressive curve.

In the mid-2000’s, Ropp, the already famous Shadow Sculptor, undertook a number of trips, each of which resulted in a series of portraits of people – Africans and Gypsies, inhabitants of Mexico and Russia, adults and kids. In 2010, he started working in color, portrait photography remaining the primary one in his work. Ropp is the author of several books on the art... (http://www.galleryshchukin.com/artist/william-ropp/bio)
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First Collected by

Moenen Erbuer


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