Testimonials - Charles Paul Azzopardi
Joel Tjintjelaar, B&W fine art photographer, multiple international award winning artist, educator and writer – www.bwvision.com
“I got to know Charles quite recently when he was commissioned as the photographer for the book ‘Portals of Valletta’. Trudging with him through the streets of Valletta during quite a few balmy hot summer days, Charles responded to the subject matter with a determined mind-set and unrelenting commitment. He has developed an acute sense of composition and a deep understanding of the dynamic interplay between light and shade, mass and void. As the writer and photographer Skyler Reid stated, ‘A good photographer records; a great photographer reveals.’ Through the camera lens, Charles suggestively reveals what lies behind tangible matter in the case of the Valletta portals, be it a sense of the grand and rhetorical, to the dignified and noble, to the downright sense of melancholy that pervades some uninhabited and dilapidated tenement. Through his photography Charles invites the viewer to extrapolate his or her own emotions in the process transcending material reality”.
Professor Conrad Thake, Architect & Architectural Historian, Professor, History of Art Department, University of Malta – www.conradthake.com
“I first came across Charles Paul Azzopardi’s work at his solo exhibition entitled “SOAR – Anatomy in Motion”, at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in March 2016. On viewing his enthralling images of the human body in dance motion, I immediately recognized his artistic and poetic approach to photography. It was later in his joint publication with Professor Conrad Thake, Portals of Valletta (Kite Group, 2017) that I first came across his architectural photography. The doorways of Valletta in the pages of this book are a testament of Azzopardi’s ever discerning clinical eye and his magician’s imagery. In photography, it is not the equipment utilized, but the eye behind the lens that matters and his is an all seeing eye. My own penchant for black and white photography soon enamoured me with his mantled draperies of black and white, with each page revealing lyrical visions of sheer poetry. Only a seer of Azzopardi’s stature could produce idyllic images of this standard. As architect and artist, may I tell you Charles Paul that you have my highest esteem for your elegiac image-making”.
Professor Richard England, pre-eminent architect, visionary, photographer, poet & writer.
“I have found time recently to go over Dr Azzopardi’s first solo publications in detail and must congratulate him and the authors for the magnificent work. The whole book is a credit to the publication sector in general and to Kite Group in particular. The photography is superb from all aspects, especially the photographer’s choice to use solely black & white images. Dr. Azzopardi has, I feel, earned his place among Malta’s leading photographers. I can humbly say he is the modern re-incarnation of my forefather, Richard Ellis”.
Ian Ellis, owner & curator of Malta’s finest and richest photographic archive, the Richard Ellis collection.
Julia Anna Gospodarou, black & white fine art (en) Visionographer, writer, educator and multiple international award-winning artist – www.juliaannagospodarou.com
“Charles Paul Azzopardi is an exceptional performance photographer, capturing moments that are unique, ephemereal, and filled with beauty. I had the honour of meeting Charles for the 35th Anniversary Gala celebration of MOMIX at Teatro Nazionale, Milan and was greatly impressed with his complete dedication to his work, as well as the results that stemmed from it. We have used Charles’ images already for our promotional pieces, and have also featured them on the homepage of our website. We are thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a gifted artist, and are looking forward to working again together in the near future.”
Moses Pendleton, artistic director, MOMIX Inc. https://www.momix.com/
“I have had the pleasure to collaborate with Charles during Cirque du Soleil’s production of Allavita! in 2015 in Italy. He is very approachable, knowledgeable, and driven by a passion for dance & performing arts like no other. He is one of the most talented fine art photographers in the world, confirmed by the level of his output and his incredible resume of international achievements. His artistic style is unique, visionary, creative and stunningly beautiful. He is truly a master photographer. He is very polite and considerate of all that goes on with such a world-class level event; it is easy to feel comfortable with him. His interest in your work is sincere and very apparent the moment you meet him. Very few fine art photographers of his amazing talent offer so much passion coupled with hard work and evanescent achievement. If you need your performance to be captured in the best possible artistic manner, look no further.”
Krista Monson, artistic director, Cirque du Soleil. https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/
“The body says what words cannot”. This quote by iconic American dancer Martha Graham is visually translated in Charles Paul Azzopardi’s dance collection. The beautiful instrument that is the dancer’s body is personified in the tension, taut muscles, stretched sinews, the arched bodies, the expressive hands and the graceful lines traced by bodies in flight. Even in frozen moments where dancers are poised in mid-air, compositional dynamics expose sublime dance techniques. The author reveals what is too fast for the eye to capture and appreciate in an instant.
The stage is the workplace of the performer and Charles is fully aware of this. His images are not mere depictions of dancers but of artists performing in a space. Beautiful trajectories are created as dancers leap gracefully into the stygian darkness of the negative spaces created by the author’s instinctive compositional decisions, decisions that come about through the extensive experience gathered from the continuous pursuit of performing arts photography.
If a pose requires it, Charles does not hesitate to treat it in a strictly symmetrical manner, exposing the bravado of the performer. The clever use of slow shutter speed results in ethereal, ghostly and sometimes painterly images, and yet there are no clichés here. The language of dance is exposed in its full spectrum. The deadpan stare of a dancer contrasts beautifully with the blurred bodies behind him. Swirling flamenco shawls become wings. A bright stage light acts as an uncanny prop to the performer’s anatomical and physical exhibitionism. Reflections add a sculptural dimension. The strategic placing of graphic, geometric props in some images adds to the dynamism and mystery and, the artist makes clever use of climatic elements to compliment or accentuate the performer’s actions.
To photograph dance one has to love dance and appreciate the sacrifices that go into moulding an artist into an accomplished dancer. It is through this process that a photographic affinity with this art is nourished and refined. In these aspects, Charles Paul Azzopardi’s photography does indeed soar.
Mr Joseph P Smith, FSWPP FBIPP FMPA FMIPP ARPS AFIAP Dip. Artistic & Cultural Management (University of Perugia) MA Fine Arts (University of Malta). www.smithjp.com
“Charles Paul Azzopardi is a phenomenal and unique photographer whose work related to our company Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s performance of “If At All” in Malta, without any shadow of a doubt, exemplifies the best work we have ever seen in dance photography in our long track record in the sector.”
Yoni Avital, International Director, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. www.kcdc.co.il
Mavin Khoo, Artistic Director, ZfinMalta, Malta national dance company ensemble. http://zfinmalta.org/
“The photographic work that Charles Paul Azzopardi has done for Naupaca Dance Factory over the years is simply beautiful. He manages to capture the human body in motion with effectiveness and precision. Whether it is a tour en l’air or a simple hand gesture, Azzopardi is capable of framing it in its fullest force and significance. He understands the theatrical space with both artistic sensibility and professionalism. We are always extremely enthusiastic about his photos and look forward to more collaboration with him in our future projects.”
Maria Theuma, script writer & core team member, Naupaca Dance Factory. www.naupacadancefactory.com