A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Jan Rattia moved to the U.S. in 1994 to complete an international business degree. For most of the 2000s, Rattia pursued business until he decided to follow his passion for photography and enrolled in a full-time program at the International Center of Photography in New York. Rattia’s work is usually portrait-based, in which he is attempting to explore desire and emotions in (mostly) men and create a connection between the subject and the viewer. He is also interested in how, at a time when we are living in a ‘selfie culture’ and are consuming photographic images of each other continuously, people adjust their behaviour when placed in a formal studio setting. In the images here, Rattia asked his subjects, who were originally strangers, to pose for him wearing an item that had special meaning for them, or that they felt conveyed an aspect of their personality, thereby setting up a more complex relationship between himself, the participants and viewers.
Since completing his studies at the ICP in New York, Rattia has shown his work at the Camera Club of New York, the Philadelphia Photo Arts Centre, and the LOW Museum of Contemporary Culture (Atlanta). His first photo series, Tease, in which the photographer went backstage at male strip clubs, was shown at the Bridgette Meyer Gallery (Philadelphia, 2013) and ClampArt (New York, 2016). Earlier this year, he was awarded the Carol Crow Memorial Fellowship by the Houston Center for Photography, which will host an exhibition of his work in the fall. He currently lives and works in Houston and is represented by Cindy Lisica Gallery, which is mounting an exhibition of Rattia’s work in 2018.