Michel Amet



The deepness. There is no word that can better define Michel Amet’s photography. For more than twenty years, his portraits have plunged into the mystery of human thought, without revealing anything, without using an intellectual statement that could explain an approach that is after all clear. In a perfect and therefore impossible world, passport photos on passports all over the world would obey its almost immutable rules: light background, black sweater, facial detail, impassive look, rigorous frame, almost standardized lighting. In these portraits there is a rigorism that assaults some people because they find it too “simple”. They would like to see Amet change his style, make variations, revolutionize his approach. In short, they would like to see Michel Amet abdicate and get up to date. They compare this work with the enormous current photographic production, which makes fun of this pictorial immobility, which must absolutely “tell a story”, as they say. They would like to see Michel Amet develop the market value of his work, which is ultimately the only criterion that allows us to sort the overabundance of images that surround us into strata according to finance or prestige. Movement is essentially what modern photography likes to capture.

For all these years, Michel Amet has loved the static figure of his models. Better still, he always accentuates it a little more, insisting on tiny details that show how calm, rested, in hypnosis in the face of a goal that does not like aggression. Because at the heart of this agreement between the photographer and the model, this sweetness that leads to the only photo that sums up a person, is the mystery inside these pupils. The human mind is concentrated in this deep and black hole, when the rest of the face is totally relaxed. Almost all the muscles of this face are at rest. When we succeed in capturing the perfect balance between what the model wants to reveal and what we take from it, without financial or advertising stakes, then trust becomes the element that goes beyond the beauty of the model. We are facing women, men and children who are all beautiful and who reach the exact point of junction between active and passive beauty. Black, Asian, white, they are the World. But what distinguishes us is the possibility of penetrating this intimate field that is theirs, in ways that are chosen by them alone. It is the models who decide on this openness and not the photographer who encourages them. The trust they offer through Michel Amet reaches the rest of the world.

And it is this mystery of the portrait, one of the inexhaustible subjects of artistic creation, that makes Michel Amet’s images not subject to the wear and tear of time. Of all the photographers of his generation, he is the only one who is totally, completely, completely, undoubtedly logical to his first idea. Trade had no impact on this photograph. The basic principle has remained pure. By obligation, by timidity, by powerlessness, the fact is: this photograph has not been altered by the last twenty years which have imposed, more than ever, the image market. And that is ultimately what makes this work unique, as a secret, preserved from the knowledge of the general public. But like many virtuous secrets that have been preserved, these portraits will eventually be recognized by a larger number of people who will be surprised by the integrity of their curves and the message in their eyes. There is no hurry. Michel Amet has all eternity.

Didier Lestrade

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