Face value

THE photo of Perth film maker and artist Curtis Taylor dominates the gallery wall of Il Locale Cafe.

Dark and brooding, the image has a pulsating and primal quality.

“I wanted that particular portrait to make a bit of a statement when people walk in,” photographer Robert Simeon tells the Voice.

The photo is so powerful a regular at the North Perth cafe wanted it removed.

“He felt offended, which begs the question why,” Simeon says.

The man threatened to boycott the cafe if the photo remained.

“The image stayed and he did take his business elsewhere…though he came back a couple of weeks later.”

Brooding light

A western desert Martu man, Taylor’s image is one of a series of photos, mostly of dark skinned men from around the world, each captured in brooding light and brimming with life and energy.

“I don’t like airy fairy, I have more going on inside me and that comes out in my work,” Simeon says.

The exhibition challenges the viewer to step outside the norm and re-evaluate the human face and what is normally perceived, he says.

A professional photographer for 28 years, the Mt Lawley local prefers natural light for his portraits.

“There is something about natural light, I have used flash and lights but there is a sterility about it.

“There is a truth about natural light and its imperfections.”

Simeon’s Porta Della Verita (door of truth) exhibition is a joint collaboration with his mate Hank, who headed up the successful UK production company Monkey London, hence the working name Simeon:Simian.

“I shoot the photos and he does the post production,” Simeon says.

“He also knows when you leave an image alone.”

Despite a successful career as a commercial photographer, his love of his craft as art can play against him.

“The commercial market sees me as an artist and the artists think I’m a bit too commercial.”

Porta Della Verita is at Locale Cafe, Angove Street, North Perth until July 30.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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