THE REAL PEOPLE PROJECT
Collecting things is something natural in the human being. Maybe it has a relationship with the feeling of possession, maybe it is related to the primal insight of survivance, trying to accumulate things that may be can be necessary in the future. Some people just collect for the pleasure of counting the pieces on his collections or to enjoy the variety and particularity of the most exotic samples. There are collections made from stamps, coins, minerals, miniatures, insects… almost anything can be collected and classified. Joan Cantó is a portraitist, so his collection is made of faces.
The author combines the purest essence of the old portraitist job from its beginnings and the spirit of the more compulsive collector who believes that every piece found must be part of his collection. As the project grows, also grows the author’s desire of collecting, like the stuff piled in the house of people with diogenes syndrome. Any face is interesting and can be collected. The author of the project has some of the nineteenth century photographer with his itinerant studio, a bit of the collector that recounts his collection every night and some of the entomologist who seeks the missing specimen with the net. Maybe for this reason, the people in his pictures look like pinned butterflies, their blank expressions will remain unaltered forever.
The Real People Project started with the people around the photographer: family, friends and people who had any kind of connexion with the autor, etc. but it has grown fast including people from many different countries and a lot of people became interested on being part of the collection. This is the reason of The Real People Project website. It shows the entire collection of faces and also is a meeting point for all the people interested on participating as models.
Joan Cantó is not the only one who travels around the world looking for faces. Once they’re part of the project, many people who have been photographed anywhere in the world appear some weeks later on the cover of a magazine in the United States, in a poster on Switzerland or announcing a product in Australia, as you can see in the Published section. The photos of The Real People Project are not just an artistic or aesthetic concept, they can also be a commercial product. Many of the images in the collection can be purchased commercially through stock agencies as iStockphoto and Getty Images. This is the main way to financiate the project from its begginings and what has made possible to extend and expand the project internationally and create this website. In these photos, the models gave their authorization for this commercial usage to help the project. Most of them are also curious to know where and when the image will appear published. Other times, international companies, advertising agencies and public institutions have decided to commission specific images to the author, within the aesthetic of the series, for projects or advertisements, expanding even more the perspectives and the limits of the project (take a look at the Published section). However, many other pictures are only displayed on the The Real People Project website. They are part of the collection only in its purely artistic side. It all depends on what decides the person portrayed.
The Real People Project goes beyond this website, beyond the advertising purposes of the portraits and beyond its conception as faces collection. The Real People Project exhibitions include an initial selection of faces from different parts of the world that can be replaced by new pictures taken locally during the time the exhibition. Usually, photo shoots are done parallel to the exhibition, often during the opening day. It turns the opening event into a social activity and the exhibition becomes dynamic, alive and changing. Each Real People exhibition is a living product that adapts itself to the place and people who is hosting it.