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Capturing a lonely universe inside

THEY say that inside every human being is a small universe that can never be fully deciphered.

But sometimes it can be glimpsed, and famed French photographer William Ropp is known for capturing the mysterious aspects of human nature.

An exhibition of his works titled "20 Years of Photography" is underway at the Original Gallery through October 15.

Drawing on his experience in the theater, Ropp uses the play of light and shade to conjure up a distant and enigmatic aura that permeates all his black-and-white pictures.

Subjects, notably women and children, are often placed against a dark backdrop, which amplifies their facial expressions. They appear languid, lonely or perplexed and the images resonate with viewers.

But it is not just the viewers who gaze at subjects; the women, men and children in the pictures seem to redirect the stare toward the person looking at the unfathomable pictures.

Seemingly coming from a different time, these human seem to echo the eternal questions - who are we and were do we come from?

Ropp also explores the inner world of children, one that is no longer a familiar and cheerful one. On the contrary, every child subject is approached as an adult with feelings and interpretations of their surroundings.

They appear older than their chronological age. Whether sitting on a staircase or standing inside a room, they radiate solitude and uncertainty.

Ropp seems to open a door for viewers to go deeper into the mysterious stage of childhood. "I don't have designated models," Ropp said. "Most are ordinary people that I randomly select. This provides different layers of reality that lead to the one eternal theme of mankind, the mystery of the small universe."


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