William Ropp Exhibition

B & W (U.K. Edition) - August 2009
American Connection - by Susan Burnstine

Hope and Doubts

French photographer William Ropp's evocative series, Children, remained imprinted in my mind since seeing it at Photo L.A. a few years ago. Ropp's work goes beyond imagined narratives and provides a rich inner life of each child he photographs. His examination of childhood sexual innocence versus adult realities is conveyed without sentiment or romanticism and expresses a universal truth experienced in youth.

Ropp's signature style involves various techniques, including photographing subjects in complete darkness and painting them with light using a 50-year old Czech-made flashlight. He never directs his subjects and what ultimately emerges is an enigmatic vulnerability that expresses hope and doubts rarely captured in images of children. Ropp explains: "It is the dichotomies among the feelings of the model, the intentions of the artist and the perception of the viewer - it is this very ambivalence that forms, in my opinion, the essence and the richness of art."

Ropp's series Children will be exhibited at Galerie BMG in Woodstock, New York from August 7 to September 7.

Woodstock Times - August 6, 2009
Smart Art - by Paul Smart

Ropp at BMG

Bernard Gerson's French heritage is paying off for not only his Galerie BMG photographic venue on Tannery brook Road, but the entire town. For the second time this year, he and wife Judi will be showing a new talent from France, this time hosting the photographer William Ropp at an artist's reception to celebrate the opening of his latest exhibition of his renowned Children series, last seen in this country three years ago in L.A.

Ropp, well-known for his atmospheric, eyes-centric human faces and series of successful art books in Europe, gets his unique effects via extended exposures against a black background, using a flashlight to "paint" what he calls the "dance of light" illuminating his subjects, and his viewers inner sense of themselves as witnesses into others' inner beings.

Children, which has also been published in book form, depicts children "at the beginning of their journey in life, gazing directly at the viewer, thoughtful, bold, ageless, open and aware of the world." Unlike similar explorations by the likes of Sally Mann, who used her own family as models, and Jock Sturges, who captured nude pre-teens on beaches in the south of France, Ropp's work focuses on the ageless mystery in kids' faces and body language. Call him the Blake of the lot, going after the combination of innocence and wisdom in all kids' glares.

"If I had to frame my own childhood in one single picture, I would say, without the slightest hesitation, that this image would be full of seriousness", the ar6ist has said of this series, one of the most successful over a 20-year career that has lately seen him shooting in Russia and Mali. "It would be as serious as the future full of hopes and doubts, fears and questions, that I sensed looming toward me from off in the distance."

Ropp typically uses a 4 x 5 or Polaroid camera, working in both his studio or on location with minimal equipment. He produces his own, richly toned, traditional gelatin silver prints. Children will be on display from August 7 through September 7, with the artist's reception for Ropp 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, August 8.