ROBERT MCFARLANE ON S.I.A.M.

At the still point of the turning world there is Bangkok, city of infinite courtesy and carnality, and it is in this arena that Emmanuel Angelicas has produced the body of work known as SIAM.

A cursory look reveals inevitable resonances of other photographers....Weegee, for example, lives briefly in photographs from Pattaya, while curious traces of the imagery of Manuel Alvarez Bravo are evoked in several other images.

"Female Lovers" has at once some of the body calligraphy of Bravo yet survives with a distinct life of its own. ln this remarkable image two partially nude women embrace in (mock) carnality and appear to float, intertwined, above a dark void. It is as close to being a masterpiece as visual comfort allows and may well represent the finest work of Angelicas' young life. It is a picture which also contains elements present in most of the photographs of this portfolio: firstly a realisation of the basic nature of human behaviour....the calligraphy of actions that represent deeper thoughts. I kept thinking, perhaps in ethnic sympathy, of the powerful visions of Constantine Manos' epochal book "A Greek Portfolio".

ln Emmanuel Angelicas' images we can recognize another such photographer going for the visceral and revealing from time to time the spiritual.

ROBERT MCFARLANE 1987
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