Mauro Restiffe by Allen Frame

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 56 Summer 1996
Issue 56 056  Summer 1996
​Mauro Restiffe 1

Mauro Restiffe, Untitled, 1995, black and white print.

Mauro Restiffe is a 27-year-old Brazilian photographer whose photographs of a few months spent in St. Petersburg last winter were included in the first Moscow International Festival of Photography in April. Restiffe had accompanied his Russian friend Natasha Alter, also a photographer, to St. Petersburg where they visited her mother and Restiffe did a series of diaristic portraits—of Natasha and of the city. Months later, Restiffe returned to the city to photograph on his own.

His photographs at first seem simple—fleeting impressions of people and places—but, in fact, they reconcile certain polarities with a complicated restlessness. There’s a sense of intense, psychological immediacy, but it’s conveyed in a nonchalant, off-hand style. There’s a mystical exhilaration in the light, but a nagging sadness in the sense of a relationship’s passing. The most interesting photograph perhaps is one in which the photographer is present. One’s first impression is of a racy boudoir scene—two women together in bed, their heads close in confidentiality. The foreground nude woman, abstracted with a blur, looks out from the frame with the coy surprise of a Caravaggio youth. One eventually recognizes the shy woman a little further back, clad in a bra, as the photographer—a subtle self-portrait that evokes the more explicit and glamorous self-portraits of Pierre Molinier, as well as the strange public/private mood of Manet’s two women, now without the men, in Dejeuner sur l’herbe.

—Allen Frame

Leigh Ledare by Chris Kraus
Leigh Ledare 1
Related
Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe by Kalia Brooks
Ashe 01

“We have to tell the truth in the image.”

Inge Morath by Honor Moore
Bomb 89 Morath2 Body

When I sat down, my hands felt impossible. Just fold them,  / she said, looking, pressing the button, shifting the angle,

Nan Goldin by Stephen Westfall
Goldin 01

Nan Goldin’s photography never fails to entice, shining with her trademark sensuality and tenderness. She spoke with Stephen Westfall for BOMB in 1991.

Originally published in

BOMB 56, Summer 1996

Featuring interviews with Martha Plimpton, Irvine Welsh, Jeffrey Vallance, Nick Pappas, Mark Eitzel, Lee Breuer, Ornette Coleman, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Janwillem van de Wetering, and Ada Gay Griffin & Michelle Parkerson on Audre Lorde.

Read the issue
Issue 56 056  Summer 1996