About the Book
Using soft directional lighting and a special post-processing technique enables me to accentuate their body features and produce images that are raw and crisp. It’s important to me to capture highlights in the men’s eyes so they look directly at the camera – the eyes are the first thing we notice and must be sharp.
The idea of creating a series of photographs showing bare-chested men evolved gradually. The biggest challenge was finding the first person who would agree to pose. At first I asked only close friends to participate. After gaining valuable experience and formalising a consistent look, I expanded the portfolio and became more confident about approaching total strangers. Having a few examples helped me to overcome objections until the project gained a critical mass with dozens of portraits. I focus on capturing a variety of ethnic groups, poses, age groups and body sizes.
I gradually became more selective and started approaching people who looked more interesting to me – people whose face and body tell a story. I capture around 50 photos of each man and choose the image which best represents his personality.
The project gained further momentum after winning prestigious awards and becoming a Finalist in the Portrait Classic category of the 2015 Iris Awards form the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. The portfolio was then chosen to be exhibited in the 2016 Head On Photo Festival at Gaffa gallery in Sydney and at Northart gallery in the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography.
Titled Black, White & Colour, Ilan Wittenberg's first exhibition featured portraiture, landscape and fine art. Faces of Jerusalem portfolio was exhibited at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in 2015. The Bare Truth series was exhibited at the 2016 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney as well as the Signature Programme of the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography. Ilan's award winning photo was chosen for the cover of D-Photo magazine together with a feature story: Faces of Morocco. From here to Africa - The Maasai people collection was exhibited at UXBRIDGE Gallery in early 2020. This documentary travel series was also featured at hEAD oN photo festival in Sydney. Wittenberg's Scape exhibition featured at the 2020 Auckland Festival of photography Core programme. Ilan is a judge in photo competitions. He is NZIPP 2020, 2018, 2016 & 2015 Auckland Photographer of the year. Ilan has a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering and an M.B.A. in Information Technology.