December 20, 2006
Mexican crime photographer Enrique Metinides' work often leaves viewers unsettled. He is compared to Weegee because of the macabre subject matter and yet Metinides work strikes a darker chord. We look at Weegee's dead mobsters and think they got what they deserved, but when Metinides shoots a kid floating on bottom of a pool the tragedy is palpable...this could be someone you know. Reviewers always compare Metinides photos to film stills maybe because he shoots wide tableaus including bystanders—passersby frozen in a moment of contemplation—this gives the images a larger than life reality that competes with the unreality of the subject matter and distinguishing the images from common tightly composed flash-bulbed newspaper pulp (as an aside it's an effect many art photographers especially those from the Yale school of photographic thought keep trying to replicate). Many of the pictures are hard to look at and yet you are drawn to them. This is not exactly rubbernecking, it's a more primal pull. These are views of death that carry the shade of hard reality. We viewers become bystanders ourselves.
532 West 20th Street
related: another good article on Metinides
Other shows I want to check out this weekend: