José Pedro Cortes took most of his his photographs in the Dogon region in Mali. The exhibition title is a response and a homage to Moi Un Noir by the French anthropological filmmaker Jean Rouch who has been hailed as the main founder of cinéma-vérité. Cortes spoke of Rouch’s influence on his work in an interview with Time magazine saying, “one of the things that amazed me always with the films was that on one hand there was interaction with the community there, but you could also feel him as a stranger.”Cortes’ images have an outsider-insider dynamic – the very tension he finds present in Rouch’s work. We are brought intimately close to his subjects, but also excluded when faced with their turned gazes and backs. We see traces of daily life and humanity in landscapes devoid of people. In this alienating proximity, the eye is set free to wander, discovering texturally rich details that might otherwise be overlooked – the hint of a pattern on a face marked with decorative scarification or the empty studio of famed Malian photographer Malick Sidibé.

José Pedro Cortes (b. Porto, Portugal, 1976) completed a Master of Arts in Photography at the Kent Institute of Art and Design (Rochester, UK). In 2005, he was selected for Photo London – Emerging Artists Presentations and, in 2006, took part in the Getty Images curated exhibition, New Photographers 2007. His work has been exhibited both in Portugal and abroad. In 2011, Cortes was selected for the European Photo Exhibition Award – this work being shown in four museums (Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Gulbenkian Foundation in Paris, Fondazione Banca del Monte in Lucca, and the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo). In 2012, Cortes was commissioned for the European Eyes on Japan project. This year he was shortlisted for BESPhoto 2014, the most prestigious photography award in Portugal. He has published 3 books, Silence, Things here and Things still to come and Costa. He is the founder and editor of Pierre von Kleist editions.

Jose Pedro Cortes
Moi, un blanc

9 – 27 April 2014
Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am – 6.30pm
73 Walton Street, SW3 2JL