Mustafa Sabbagh: About Skin
Text by Patrizia Silingardi.
As image-smoothing technologies improve, photo retouching has come to play an ever more decisive role in the creation of photographic images of the human form. Italian-Jordanian photographer Mustafa Sabbagh's About Skin is therefore all the more striking for the close attention it pays to the variations and imperfections that inhere in its titular subject: moles, scars, reddened skin, veins, wrinkles, bruises, stretch marks, signs left by clothing. The 40 full-page color photographs presented here--which include landscapes, fashion and still lifes as well--form a kind of atlas on skin that also refers the observer, on the one hand, to Northern European painting from the 1500s and 1600s (for example, Dutch still life and Northern Renaissance portraiture) and, on the other, to contemporary photos by Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller and Rineke Dijkstra.