TIRELESSLY capturing the most eccentric characters in and around Órgivan is a favourite task for Franc Enskat, a German/French photographer who moved to the area in 2019, and made it his home.
After working for 30 years as a professional advertising photographer in Düsseldorf and Paris, Franc visited Órgiva to see his childhood sweetheart. They fell in love, he stayed, and they married.
Franc has always been interested in “the human portrait”. After three decades of still life photography, working on a new genre presented a challenge.
In 2015, Franc fulfilled his childhood dream to buy the legendary 20×24″ Polaroid camera. He used it to photograph film stars and public figures – and, also, “homeless people and outlaws”. Sadly, this camera stayed in Germany.
Franc then decided to portray residents of Órgiva and La Alpujarra, making this his new project in the area.
He uses a bespoke photographic technique, mostly in black and white, to create “images that reflect people’s souls”. He quips: “That’s what the relatives of the subjects frequently say, but there are other voices that say, ‘it makes you look old’.”
Franc’s portraits have a strong texture and contrast, emphasising every detail of the subject’s face. He says: “That’s because of the black and white process, which makes 256 shades of grey out of millions of color nuances and, consequently, increases contrast.”
Instead of opting for today’s standard camera equipment, Franc works with some unusual lenses. Some date back to the 1880s, or don’t fit his camera bodies. The technique always involves slow photography, rather than the modern trend of taking hundreds of images to obtain one good shot. His use of traditional techniques – such as collodion wet plates, dry plates, and 20×24″ Polaroids – is so prohibitively expensive per print that, sometimes, only one exposure is possible!
Looking ahead, Frank is planning a “coffee table book” containing portraits and stories about the Órgivan characters he has captured along the way. In the meantime, he’s “always on the lookout for interesting faces, lifelines, and expressions.”
He says: “A very close connection is created at the moment of making a portrait, and this is how pictures with a strong expression are created.”
Franc is currently seeking people who are willing to be photographed for his next big project. Although the full details are to be revealed, the resulting images will appear in a permanent artwork that will be prominently displayed in Órgiva town centre. The portrait session is free, and participants will receive a small booklet containing their photos.
Overall, Franc’s project is about showing the inner character of the people involved. He says: “Diversity is the magic word in this amazing mountain town. Órgiva is alive with the many nationalities and eccentricities of the people who come together here. I hope to capture that in my project.”
To apply to have your portrait taken, please contact Franc on: firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: 621301175