CM: When Sophia Fotiadou creates portraits; she is basically interested in a particular category of people who know how to externalize and communicate their inner world. The case of Lafcadio Hearn, who in the 19th century became master of his fate by choosing to leave the West for a life in the East, fascinated Fotiadou. Lafcadio was a charismatic man who managed to excel as an author in exotic Japan. With this portrait Fotiadou suggests to viewers to face Lafcadio anew. For Fotiadou the double challenge was for Lafcadio's portrait to evoke his origin in the West and his love for the East. To capture the soul of a particular personality in the artistic sphere, the portraitist is required to act with more feeling, rather than logic. The pose that she chose, with its lowered eyes, presents him as if seeing with the eyes of the soul. Wanting to emphasize Lafcadio's particular sensitivity, which made him differ from the stereotype that society reserves for man, Fotiadou smoothened the characteristics of his gender. The photographic lens of Frederick Gutekunst (1831-1917), who captured the original image of Lafcadio used by Fotiadou, could not capture such parameters. Therefore, in order to represent the quality of the sitter's soul, Fotiadou chose to emphasize the color on Lafcadio's face and to set it against a neutral background with subdued tonality. The flowers magnified in the background are a species of rare orchids that cannot be cultivated, but are found in special places in nature. She wanted the flowers to be as distinctive as the sitter was unique. The special colors of the palette of this picture resulted from mixing and became almost impossible for words to describe.
[Megakles Rogakos 10/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES The Open Mind of Lafcadio Hearn 2009 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens