Editor's Pick: The Chairs by Horia Manolache

by Jacqueline Tobin

May 19, 2015

Photos © Horia Manolache

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.”

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