This work comprises forty-eight black-and-white photographs arranged in grid form. Each is a portrait of the same man against a white background. He is pictured alternately full-face and in profile.

Arnaud Maggs

(Montréal 1926 – Toronto 2012)

 

48 Views, Michael Snow

1981-1983

Gelatin silver print

40.5 x 50.5 cm

Purchased in 2003

National Gallery of Canada, 2003.1.1-162

© Estate of Arnaud Maggs / SODRAC (2018)


The photograph 48 Views, Michael Snow is composed of forty-eight black-and-white portraits of the artist Michael Snow arranged in a grid, like a sheet of contact prints. This conceptual work refers to several aspects of the history of photography. The alternation of frontal and profile poses is patterned on the mug-shot system developed in the 19th century, and their sequential presentation recalls scientific experiments with recording motion. The minute variations from one shot to the next reveals the fleeting nature of human expressions. By playing with photographic conventions in this way, Arnaud Maggs offers a contemporary reflection on the portrait genre.


In 1973, after careers in graphic design and fashion photography, Arnaud Maggs devoted himself exclusively to the visual arts. His fascination with portraits led him to plunge into the history of art and photography. He developed a style all his own – stark, precise studies of subjects against a neutral background – and applied the same rigorous method in his work on archives and classification systems. Maggs also attached great importance to the way his photographs were hung. His monumental installations had a major influence on the art world.

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