By Jacqueline Tobin
Every October, an adrenaline rush comes over me as I gear up to
review work at the Palm Springs Photo Festival’s Portfolio Reviews
at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. Last year I met Romanian
photographer Horia Manolache and instantly fell for his series
of diptychs titled “The Chairs.” The project—and Manolache’s
creativity—stayed with me, and seven months later I still find this
work extremely inventive and eye-catching.
“This series started at a workshop with [American
photographer] Alessandra Sanguinetti,” says Manolache, who’s
currently a student at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University.
“She sent me to document an upholstery shop and to take a
portrait with the owner of that place. The portrait was awful, but
an idea was born after seeing a white chair with a broken arm.
What would certain chairs look like in human form?” Manolache’s
visual answers are captivating.
“I did the portraits of the chairs first; when I felt I had enough
to tell my story, I began printing them, “ he explains, “and then
wrote down the kind of person they inspired. It was like creating
a character for a movie—is it a man or a woman? Is it young or old,
elegant or rough? What clues does this chair give me? This was the
process that I enjoyed most in constructing this series, a series that
shows us another way of looking at things.”