Dramatis Personae by Tami Bahat

Issue 97

Dramatis Personae is an homage to the Old Masters: their brilliant use of light and the raw emotion of the characters portrayed. Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer… I grew up captivated by their stunning works, found hanging from museum walls but also in art books at home. I watched my father study each and every page for long periods of time with a smile on his face. He loved to explain how the artists created the work, and share other details that felt like little secrets. The quality time we spent together admiring art changed my life and it was only natural that I began “painting” through the use of a camera. 

These intimate studies welcome the viewer into unique moments over the past several hundred years. All the models are relatives and friends, whose raw expression adds a deeply personal nuance to the work. The use of live animals is also a very important component to the photographs and plays upon the human-wildlife connection, adding humor and intrigue to the tableau. Each photograph is embraced by an antique frame that carries its own story. I often wonder who owned them beforehand, or which walls they hung from while being admired throughout time. Often delicate because of age they are a historic element, bridging the gap between past and present. 

It’s vital for me to show the essence of humanity in a way that moves far beyond trends and honors the souls of the “ordinary” who are indeed extraordinary. This world of Dramatis Personae feels native to me, with all its idiosyncrasies and darkness. I’m moved by other lifetimes, other identities. I take refuge with these people, citizens of a lost place, long forgotten.

Tami Bahat lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.  
To view more of Tami's work, please visit her website.

 

 The Twins

The Twins

 
 The Writer

The Writer

 
 The Nun

The Nun

 
 The Maid

The Maid

 
 The Dispute

The Dispute

 
 The Bird Handler

The Bird Handler

 
 The Fishmonger

The Fishmonger

 
 The Maiden

The Maiden

 
 The Monk

The Monk

 
 The Reader

The Reader

 
 The Schoolgirl

The Schoolgirl

 
 The Intellectual

The Intellectual

 
 The Expectant Mother

The Expectant Mother

 
 The Ingenue

The Ingenue