A series of photos taken between 2006 and 2008
The 1930 detective novel by Dashiell Hammett, later adapted in the 1941 film noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart called the 'Maltese Falcon', has at the core of its plot a golden priceless statue of a flacon which in antiquity was a tribute to the Emperor Charles the 5th, Holy Roman Emperor, by the Grand Master of the Religion and Order of Saint John of Jerusalem for the granting of Tripoli, Malta and Gozo. Pirates subsequently seize the galley carrying the pricless token on the way to the Emperor and the fate of the Maltese Flacon remains a mystery to this day. Until.....well, until one day Attard is presented with a fine specimen of the Falco peregrinus brookei, brought to him by a friend to his studio in Gozo (the bird was illegally shot down, but luckily not mortally wounded) and in a stroke of pure genius turns this raptor, associated with aggression and martial prowess, into a hollywoodian spoof by simply adorning it with solid gold chains and presenting it side by side with the picture of a 'medallion man' whom he had photographed earlier. Portrait photography has moved from its traditional, commercial and vernacular roots and has become a powerful encounter with artist, sitter and spectator as it is continously being redefined by its practitioners. The rapport of intentions, desire, motivation are never really clear and reactions to a portrait can vary enormously. What is ethically uncertain to one can be tender and noble to another and this is perhaps what makes portraiture one of the most compelling of artistic genres.