Photographs by Patrick Swirc.
Edition 7L, Paris, 2007. 32 pp., 29 color illustrations, 17¾x13¾".
The portraits with which Patrick Swirc began his
career have appeared on the covers of Elle
(Catherine Deneuve) and Time (Jean-Marie Le Pen).
His eminent subjects have included Tom Hanks,
Audrey Tautou, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood,
Larry Flynt, Isabelle Adjani, Gus Van Sant, Javier
Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, George Lucas,
Quentin Tarantino, Peter Greenaway and Kristin
Scott Thomas. While that success has been rewarding,
Swirc has also begun to weary of it; his most
recent work documents his travels to far and often
dangerous areas of the world. Along with
Myanmar, Darjeeling and Kabul, Swirc has traveled
to North Korea. This, his North Korean work, is less
scenic than social and political, a return to portraiture
that records the intensity with which he himself
was watched:“It is impossible to travel alone in
North Korea. As soon as you arrive, two guides pick
you up . . . you are not allowed to do anything without
them. They prevent you from speaking with
anybody. As my two guards said that it was forbidden
to take any photographs, I decided to photograph
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