Written review by
Associate Curator, International Center of Photography
Paz’s portfolio is vibrant and meaningful. I was drawn to the anthropological side of her series, and its cinematic side. Overall I think Paz’s color work is superior to her black and white: more life, more emotion, more movement, and more personality.
The use of white in her color pictures is excellent. Her best pictures are built around the white zones: the little girl in picture 1, and the wedding dress in picture 7, 10 and 11, which are my favorite of the series. The black and white images, for some reason, do not appeal to me so much, perhaps because they rely too heavily on the esthetics of the black and white and are too flat or too stylized, which dilutes the content. The visual effect of the blur/shake does not move me. Composition wise, I find the color pictures to be much more accomplished and subtle: in most of them, Paz stays at the right distance, a step back that allows our eye to wonder within the frame, observing each and every element of the composition. Sometimes though, in the color photographs, the use of light is hit-and-miss: in image 9 and 2, the reflection of the light is too strong, it bothers the eye and destroys the composition. It almost spoils image 7 but not quite – the reflection on the floor is countered by the light coming from the window and a balance is found.
Finally, there is something to be said about image 8, by all accounts the most striking image of all: its impact is immediate, because of the inherent visual violence of its subject matter, and an interesting play between the rituals depicted, the intriguing red cross on the floor, and the buoyant, bloody, red explosion. It does not necessarily make it a good photograph, the composition and light are not ideal, too flat, but it is an interesting document nonetheless. I would encourage Paz to explore her color world and to work on the use of light, reflections, and distance. The emotion is palpable in his color wedding pictures – and I would go that route, which seems to be the most personal and accomplished of her chosen styles.