In 1989 Madeleine de Sinety first came to Maine Media Workshops. Susan Danly, at the Portland Museum Of Art (PMA), has now organized a retrospective show and an accompanying catalog.
Lucien Clergue, Arnold Newman and Mary Ellen Mark became Madeleine de Sinety's mentors at the Workshops. Mary Ellen Mark puts it best in her introduction to the catalog, "She approached me and asked if I would look at her pictures. I said to myself, ‘Oh my God what am I getting into?’ But I did look at her pictures.... and I was taken aback. They were beautiful, original, personal, innocent, but sophisticated all at the same time-everything I love about capturing reality in a photograph.... Madeleine’s photographs are all straight from her beautiful heart."
Madeleine has lived a life that reads like a novel. The biography in the catalog will leave you wondering if such a journey could be real. She had a great natural talent and played hard at making her images. She was so close to them that she had a hard time letting them out of her sight. Seeing her photographs in this class and the images she has made since has been a great treat.
The three bodies of work in the show are from Poilley, France; Maine; and Uganda. Every image is strong. Do you remember seeing Josef Koudelka or Eugene Richards’s images for the first time? These are that good.
-by Tim Whelan