I first discovered Pierrot Men’s work in Fianarantsoa, when I was in Madagascar in 2001 and he blew me away. Perhaps because he caught in images that were sometimes bleak, the breadth of my experience, an experience I was unable to share or process at the time. I was traveling alone and intensely occupied with projects, with no time for reflection, and operating almost constantly in a state of extreme cultural shock. The reflection came later, and Pierrot’s images replaced diary entries for me. Many of the images that were seminal to my travels through that country are rare and difficult to find, but luckily for me, Dan at the Dakota Ridge Gallery maintains the only online presence of this artist.
Because he photographs exclusively Madagascar, and because Madagascar is so rare a destination, and because it was such a turning point in my life, the connection I feel to his work is not something I can explain with excerpts of his photography. Madagascar is the most exceptional, heart-arresting, life-altering place I have ever been. I’ve never properly shared how much that country changed me, and perhaps now, it is time, but not in this post. My father has been sharing his memories of wars past, of bygones and roads traveled, and I think he has done more for me than steeled my resolve to continue in the path of writing: he has inspired me.
Pierrot Men’s work is outstanding, he pins figures in extraordinary landscapes, and brings you face to face with the humble. Perhaps his work speaks of humility and hard lives, often photographing people in their places of hard labor. I have a picture of a mechanic sitting amid scrap metal with goggles that I turn to often.
I’m grateful to Dan and his gallery for having the vision to carry Men’s work. I will have to stop in on my next trip to the East Coast to pay a visit.