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Pour trouver les versions françaises, ou bien il faut se rendre sur le site du French Quarter Magazine version française, ou bien, se rendre dans l'onglet "Un article?", où les chroniques jusqu'à octobre 2015 sont classées par auteurs suivant l'ordre alphabétique.

Ceci concerne les artistes suivants

- Eggleston

- Florence Henri

- Yves Marchant et Romain Meffre

- Alexia Monduit

- Bernard Plossu

- Garry Winogrand


William Eggleston

Paris/Fondation Cartier-Bresson through December 21st.

W.E. “I think that my photographs are components of the very book that I am in the process of writing.”

Writing a chronicle on William Eggleston’s works is pretty daunting : he has become an icon. You can’t skip him. After so many years on the stage, he has turned into a leader in the eyes of young artists. He has been driving many of them to forge a new way of looking at objects, people, and landscapes, and improving them. Eggleston has not only invented a new style, but also a new perception. As a peer of Meyerowitz, Diane Arbus, Saul Leiter, and Garry Winogrand, he has been one of the American photographers who have reinvented the art of photography. This new kind of photograph emphasizes big cities’ features and atmospheres. It highlights pedestrians passing-by, buses, and cars, and poses them as the corner-stones of a new vision of the world. This method of depicting life makes new sensations merge together with unique visions of people, streets and objects.

William Eggleston is one of the leaders of this radical revolution. It makes sense to look back to the XIXth century « soft revolution » of Courbet, Manet, Cézanne and their peers. They altogether reversed the « onus probandi» as far as the model was concerned : they moved people, landscapes and various day to day events into pictoral objects. What matters is no longer the delicacy of a visage, the accuracy of the leaves in a tree, nor the rising of the sun over the sea. Conversely, colors, structures, and forms have become increasingly their main concern. « Young ladies resting by the edge of the Seine river » from Courbet announced this revolution which ended up with cubism. The white gown of one of the girls turned out to be the key part of this work, and both the « resting girls » became part of the background.

The modern art of photography, some half a century ago, went through this revolutionary move. At that time, it had become urgent for photographers to escape from the world of documentation, information and nice pictures with morals and social enthousiasm coined from the 1930’s. There has been a need to consider the vast world in new ways, and to be looking at people and events around us instead of being stuck to Second-World-War-time deeds of heroism. Other objects and actions need to be shown. This is the tribute we have to pay to Eggleston: together with some other « visionnaires » he has made possible « un regard neuf » ; looking at people and facts « sans importance » as if banality were more meaningful than traditonal images of hope and courage, as if beauty might be found in objects to which we don’t usually pay attention.

May we say that Eggleston has been reinventing the art of photography, using very solid art techniques, and not departing from them. These are not photographs, haphazardly shot with good luck to catch light or shade. Instead, Eggleston and his colleagues are artists who plan their piece in the most profound and artistically-creative way. That which occurs under their careful watch is doubly treated, both at the time of the shooting, in which it’s decided in what way to take the picture, and at the time of the choosing of the negative, and in this, which part is worth being kept.

eggleston 1

Photo by erickimphotography.com.

Among all the photos that are presented at the Fondation Cartier-Bresson, the first ones which come to view show, by their rigorous framing, that they are based on an « interior » motif, like the one with the light bulb suspended from the ceiling. The break-away from the day to day is, in this occasion, so obvious, in a way so reduced, and an expression so simple, that one can grasp how new this vision is. A little farther away, the photo of a milk jar, of a Coca-Cola machine, and of a cake — illustrate this perfectly. And thus the heros are no longer the conquerors of Iwo Jima ; that which merits consideration is found in our immediate environment.

This new way of considering our world has brought about a rapprochement with the Hopper painting style : a bar in Memphis, a KFC, a restaurant at nighttime, the gas pumps in Los Alamos. Scenery or absence ? Or could we even say that scenery is a false presence ? eggleston 4

What made Eggleston a true « revolutionary » is the bolt of color which he made explode within the photographer’s world. Colors and everyday objects, are turned into the subjects of the photos. These become « works of art » and move beyond the world of photography : documentation and information. « Pink Bathroom » is a daunting work based on the contrast of the vivid, flashy, yellow curlers with bathroom walls and pipes that show rosier than a rose.

eggleston 3

Photo by erickimphotography.com.

Last but not least, from the « Cartier-Bresson » exhibit, one of the colored photos demonstrates the concern for formatting on a canvas which shows a tendancy toward pure abstract art in: «Hotelroom with fluorescents». This photograph demonstrates that Eggleston’s art moves toward the abstract. In this photo, a fluorescent lamp is flashing a white-blue light, in a room where shadowy furniture is brown-colored and plunged into a dark atmosphere. The fluorescent light flashes so much, that you might think that this photograph is simply a plain photo of fluorescent light and nothing else, with the rest of the room being the background for the white-blue light. « La boucle est bouclée » : Eggleston’s photos have been leaving the field of reality representation, and going toward a new universe. In the latter, the photographer is taking the opportunity to build new way of looking at people and objects. As such, Eggleston’s work is that of a « visionnaire ».

Yves Marchant and Romain Meffre

Within the vast courtyard surrounded by ancient buildings from the 18th century stand the main premises of Polka Gallery. From today to January 15th, it offers a comprehensive exhibition of the works of Yves Marchant and Romain Meffre. Both photographers are pretty young, yet already they have become famous.


Photo by Polka Galerie

Before reading this Chronicle, it makes sense to have an idea of the type of artists that they are. They have just published a book on the famous architect Gehry’s latest work in Paris : « La fondation Louis Vuiton. » They have proposed an outstanding set of photos on this very « Gehry styled » building, which resembles an unidendified flying object, as if it were a very light and fragile craft that would have landed, per chance, close to the city of Paris, in the midst of « le bois de Boulogne. »

Of course, one cannot imagine that Yves Marchant and Romain Meffre were entitled to do this job just because they are young, smart guys with a bright and promising potential. They have been elected because of their talent and also because of their creative works.


Photo by Polka Galerie

Polka Gallery’s exhibition displays photos demonstrating the characteristics of the artists’ talent and the vision they propose to visitors. This exhibition is called « Industry » (and not « Industrie »). The photographers have been travelling around the industrial areas of the world, mostly in the United States, in Russia, Ukraine, and in France, chasing old industrial remains. They seem fascinated by ancient factories, old nuclear plants, steel industry plants, wrecked buildings with monstrous equipment. They want to highlight the remaining violence and the lingering flavor of rotten forces. Each photo plunges viewers into an atmosphere of death, disarray and decay.

Sometimes, when viewing certain photos, viewers might think of a sort of a prehistoric time full of wild terrific animals ; other times, it might be devastating war-like views, reminiscent of the agricultural tractor factory just after the end of the Stalingrad battle. The worst buildings appear to have been deserted, the victims of new trends in market prices, of new technologies.

Yves Marchant and Romain Meffre works are large scale. The photos are immense. As a result, viewers feel overwhelmed by both the spirit of the industrial sites and the physical enormity of the ruined and abandoned buildings. Amazingly, there is room for charm and delicacy even in declining parts of modern society: two photos provide this insight. One was shot from within a large cooling tower in a nuclear plant. It is a fantastic piece of pure concrete walls, colored in a slight pastel-like rose color! Delicacy challenges strength and industrial power. The other one is a symphony of hundreds of ropes and lines hanging from a sky-scrap style ceiling.

Are both young photographers driven by figures of architecture that would be considered contemporaneous or emerging from a recent past ? Are they building «décors» and sceneries to present to us strange or striking events ? In old buildings, factories, nuclear plants, as in former opera theaters, and dancing rooms transformed into parking lots, are they searching for the « absurd » that spoils so-called develop societies ?
It is up to visitors to decide.

Bernard Plossu

As far as a lover of Italy is concerned, all images coming from this country, photos as well as paintings, novels, every piece of art that puts Italy on the forefront, that tells of its enchantments, that searches for its most concealed and most charming secrets, have (in modern words) a very strong competitive advantage.


Photo by Radiolv.fr.

But, please, forget for a while works of art Italian photographers who gave us munificently and sometimes amazingly vineyards of Italy and the Italy of vast fields on the hills or across the plains, who laboured as peasants would have drawing a piece of art, as if the Italian countryside was a natural form of landscape art. They showed to what extent nature in Italy is domesticated, structured and put in order by human spirit. In other words, nature in this country has become a by-product of culture!


Bernard Plossu. Photo by Radiovl.fr.

Please, forget everything that you have been told about Italy and photography, and art as well – this chronicle is about the passion of a French photographer, Bernard Plossu who fell in love with this country.

Whenever people fall in love with a country, a woman, or a poem, it is hard for them to take a standstill, to stick to a stable view and shoot a photo in a very thoughtful manner. Wouldn’t it be fixing a movement? It would be as if you were freezing what is burning. Bernard Plossu was not willing to convert “his Italy” into a simple photo book. He had many reasons for this: he knew how tough a partner Italy is! It attracts painters, photographers, novelists, and poets. It suggests the stories it wants told, the images it wants appreciated, and as such, it overwhelms any attempts for artists to remain free and keeps them far away from original works.

From this point of view, the exhibition in la Maison Européenne de la Photographie is a kind of a notebook where the photographer captures sketches of people and architectures, of churches and small towns. A notebook of which pages would be shown separately as if they were verses of a poem that have burst out during those peculiar moments when one looks at Italian scenery and experiences intense emotions, pleasures, joys and smiles.

Every image, photos in black and white or coloured prints, are shown in small and even very small formats. Sometimes exhibited photos are the size of a postage stamp! Most of them are shadowed with a very dark touch. Shadow, black, grey, small format – these qualities provide Plossu’s photos with a hint of intimacy. They are tales that the photographer is telling to himself. Some of these tiny images constrain the viewers so they get very close to the prints and take their time to see, and in a sense, to read them.


Photo by Radiovl.fr.

Are the images produced to reach the perfect perception of them? Are they depicting objects, posed in the midst of the image and enlightened with artistic limelight and shadow, as strictly artistically balanced? An American photographer once said that a professional cannot shoot a photo without having it “centred” even if he is in the midst of fights, combats or catastrophes. Definitely, Bernard Plossu has nothing to do with this sentiment. You can find an example in “Volcano Isle” 1988. This photo doesn’t show any perspective, as if it were a lousy shot. In some cases, you would think that the photo is a kind of an amateur work: Bernard Plossu has nothing to do with “le beau” and “le montrer beau”. He is not concerned with these splendid photos of splendid landscapes and churches and Palazzi. He simply shows images that he finds very moving in the precise moment when looking at the Vulcans or other landscapes.

Black and white colours are mixed in grey and result in subtle nuances or deep shadowy pictures – would it be this quasi-dark grey picture that would depict the contrast just before twilight in Bologna? Or would it be this photo, splendid, delicate and gentle, that would capture the Piemont region, depicting a landscape with trees overwhelmed with a subtle mist? While capturing objects or traces, Bernard Plossu has the habit of moving the shadows into the limelight. Shot in Lucca 2099, a thin figure, light and fragile, appears to be standing alone on the pavement of a sunny place (a parking lot?) that has turned into white hot metal. This photo, shot at a low angle, is framed with a blind and with a plain black colour as a border to contrast with the white place crushed with sun. Bernard Plossu’s unique ability in this work is to make this silhouette stand out as the very subject of the photo.

Dreams? Or, all of a sudden, an image would have come out and imposed itself. A very demanding image you should capture, quickly, in a blink, in spite of its fragility. As is the case with “Colle di Maddelena” 2009: snow is white and abolishes all forms and shapes. However, it reveals itself, gentle and smooth, open to writing. Some traces, some shreds, sketches of trees… some birds are flying, black spots on a white sky.

Dreams? Coloured dreams. For pleasure’s sake, says Bernard Plossu, meaning without any order nor any decision-making. Unless you have come up with the idea that for some Italian cities, moments cannot be shot except with coloured films just because these cities are decorated, colour is not a the sole key. At least, for Plossu and his subtle photos, there is also some chemistry to it. This addresses a developing technique called “procédés Fresson”. As such, both art and technique are combined to show Italian cities in very nuanced colours, i.e.: no violent yellow or flashy reds. Colours are still and pastel and stand very far away from Martin Parr!!!

“Liguria” 2008 and other shots of landscapes prove that coloured films are not just dedicated to capturing photos of cities. The image of Ventoteni Island combines and contrasts the blue of the sea and the sky with the red and white tiles of a terrace. In Livorno, a subtle palette of yellows and greens is mixed in such a way that it rids the place of banality with a poor staircase in a modest building.

One once said that Boudin’s skies have reached the peak of the sky representations. However, one can now say that Plossu’s images of the sky are not bad at all and might be solid competitors to Boudin’s!

How to end this chronicle that has been written under the charm of Bernard Plossu’s works? Just a word to tell you that there is a kind of a “cabinet de curiosité”: a place where very small images are exhibited. In fact, this is a “cabinet de lecture”: Plossu’s works intend to draw our attention and demand that we do not just ‘see’ but also ‘read’ his Vulcans, his cities, his skies, and his very subtle palette of greys.

Florence Henri

Florence Henri (New York, 1893-Compiègne 1982), was a protean artist, first known for her painting, before finding her niche in the field of avant-garde photography from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. After living in Silesia, Munich, Vienna, Rome and most importantly Berlin, she settled permanently in Paris in the mid-1920s, where she devoted herself fully to photography. This medium allowed her to experiment with new relationships to space, including the introduction of mirrors and other objects in her compositions.

Curious character, that Florence Henri. She was torn between several cultures: the German, the American, the French, and the English! Being torn herself, might she have felt the need to tear photographs into pieces? Did she experience so many artistic passions, as a painter, musician, photographer… that she could not satisfy herself with limited ambitions in the art of photography, which was still perceived as the junior servant of the major arts (painting, sculpture) or as a mere illustration technique for books dedicated to the education of the masses and the educated public?It is the unsolved mystery of artistic creation, to search for the genealogy of invention, sources of inspiration, intimate secrets. Not bricks of life, but bricks of art, those which are supposed to be simultaneously the building, the support of the building, its facade and its internal structure.

As for inspiration sources, we have little to go on, regarding her « beginnings » and thoughts from her early childhood or about hopes for the eternal future, as, when we look very closely at her work, Florence Henri, photographer, invented from scratch many of the things she produced, techniques she used, framing and themes that unfold in her photos. She was the first artist, one of the first in any case, to project photography in the twentieth century and following times. Should you try to retrieve references, as it is usual to do when it comes to artistic creation, you’d better look for the music of her time between French traditions and Austro-Hungarian revolutions.

The exhibition proposed by the Jeu de Paume is particularly interesting in that it avoids the usual frills that too often accompany known photographers and/or these photographers who cleverly make themselves known. It starts with Florence Henri beginnings, made of photos that are not very exciting, where images are basic and somehow banal. From them nevertheless emanates a sense of novelty, research, work on what the photo must be, as opposed to evidence of pictorialism. From the beginnings of Florence Henri’s work, the central question is regarding the meaning of the photographic subject. The mirrors used in her photographic compositions show early on that the image of the photographer has more to do with illusionist ruptures reflected by mirrors posed in staggered rows, resulting in abime images, than with the vast world offered to Pictorialist landscapes and figures as if they were old-fashioned artists painting on the motive. The “mirror” technique will be for Florence Henri a permanent reference for the construction of her images and, at the same time, the paradigm of the design of the photographic field, as well as that of alignment and positioning of the subject. She would constantly go back to this reference and build, through her self-portraits, a split image in complete contradiction with the real framework in which she was standing.


Photo by Florence Henri via Jeu de Paume.

At this stage of our encounter with the artist we must keep in mind that these “inventions” took place at a time when the art of photography was at a crossroads. Although Florence Henri never gave up photography in the traditional sense of portraying people and landscapes, she extended the scope of photographic image to fields or concerns that were new in her time and that few photographers had tried.

In this sense, she is innovative: a good part of modern photography of her time had been breaking the traditional framing and the use of light than with the subject of the photo. Photography has long held the idea that the pictorialist representation is not questionable. This idea had some common sources with this one about impressionnists: some people thought (and still think) that they did not abolish landscape representation but, instead, renewed it. Though, modern photos during the interwar period changed the way of seeing things and people, this did not change things and people into plain photography objects and tools, pure materials to be used as pieces in the creation of an image. As for Florence Henri, she manipulated photos’ construction and design to draw effects similar to those that Cubists eventually obtained from painting.

So she sought every means to bring out her pictures despite everything, despite the strong presence of topics or perspectives: she used collages or worked her shots to transpose the art of collage into the art of photography. She developed layering techniques to give scale or a different meaning to the images she snatched from their natural environment. She invented a style of photography obsessed with framing, composition, research on the presence and anti-presence, on appearance and confusion.

Thus Florence Henri’s landscape representations are always but excuses: they are there, Breton or Roman, they are not in the photo as such but rather as part of an image, as a background to it, even just as decoration. What is photographed is a composition where the landscape is required as if it were an actor, sometimes secondary, since ropes, windows, and other objects are the real image foreground; they are showing the context of the photo and designing the first image plane which gives the image its orientation and structuration. Thus her photo subject moves toward non-subject, abstraction and pure image structuration; furthermore, it is also in this way that she managed to give a particular momentum to advertising photos, providing them with objective compositions resulting from the technical advances she had made in the field of abstract photography.

This is also how her portraits present a strong and original density: framing plays a key role as does her taste for strong, sometimes aggressive contrasts of light and shadow, black and white. And as for framing? She does not hesitate to “mess up” a photo! It must be understood in the sense that if the faces are not impeccably included as part of the picture, and have gone beyond its frame as if the picture had been taken from too close, it is but to create the impression that the artist is searching for. The figure is not centered the way it should be done when taking a serious portrait. To Florence Henri, a portrait, and a landscape as well, are photography components; they are but materials, they are not the photograph itself.

Florence Henri had created a photography studio in Paris that was said to rival Man Ray’s studio. She also taught photography. Some of her students had become outstanding figures of photo art, such as Gisèle Freund, Lisette Model. She struck her contemporaries with her daring: the Jeu de Paume exhibition presents some quotations and comments. Amongst them, we read this one from László Moholy-Nagy that illustrates very clearly the position of Florence Henri: “With photographs by Florence Henri, the practice of photography was entering a new phase of an entirely different magnitude than it should have been possible to imagine up until now…”

Alexia Monduit

Alexia Monduit is on exhibition at « Gallery Vu », rue Saint-Lazare à Paris 75009, until January 10th, 2015. Alexia Monduit lives and works in Paris. She is primarily an actress who performs in the theatre and movies. As far as photography is concerned, this is her first exhibition. The Galerie Vu artistic director is often taking risks on young photographers. This gallery is very much involved in Northern European and anglo-saxon artistic production.

monduit5 (1).png

Photo by pascalordonneau.com.

My view of this exhibit, my feelings when looking at Alexia’s work, drove me to this thought : Alexia was showing her artwork at the viewer’s own risk! What I mean is that : it is not often said that not only artists are at risk. Both when they are pushing on their camera button, and when they are agreeing on exhibitions for their photos. The public, «les regardeurs ou spectateurs», are also involved in this risk taking. Of course, one never sees a spectator being transformed into a statue, nor vaporised, or changed into a mummy because of an incoercible artistic emotion. What is called « Firenze Syndrome» is not frequent : the onlooker, usually in Firenze «Office Gallery», or inside a small, beautiful church in the midst of Tuscan vineyards, is facing a piece of primitive, Italian work. All of a sudden, he is so moved by the beauty of the painting that he becomes stunned, fascinated, and then bursts into flowing tears. Eventually, he falls down on the ground, crying and shouting out as if caught in an epileptic fit. Too much beauty, too much emotion can do harm to sensitive people and can cause some mental and esthetic disorders !

What have these « diseases » got to do with Alexia Monduit’s photos? Which kinds of risks do viewers have to be aware of ? To what extent do they have to come to share the artist’s standpoint ?

So many questions vis à vis Alexia Monduit’s photos. Nothing surprising : the way she acts as a photographer is nothing less than easy. Alexia’s photos neither show nice singing little birds, nor small kids walking along a street in Montmartre carrying two or three bottles of wine. Her photos are telling us the story of having hand to hand combat with herself. This is an intimate fight during which she has been taking all the risks. A fight with a camera, a fight to get an image out of her brain, out of her body, out of her pain, as if she were struggling for her very personality and for the dramas that are surging within her. In this fight, taking a photo is but stripping off clothing, undressing herself, forcing herself to the wall of morality, decency or aesthetic constraints.

monduit5 (2)

Into my song. Photo by mep-fr.org.

Can we dare to say that a camera is scalpel like ? Or like scissors or like a chainsaw? Whichever tools do not matter. What is meaningful is that they are designed to open up a body and slash the skin so that you can see inside. They help to make it clear that images do not uniquely show inner pieces that come to light. It is also intimacy that has been sought out and revealed : what is «inside» both mentally and physically? This is the insides dragged out from the deepest part. The insides you have to go through even though you would have to move «à l’aveugle»; this would be the sole means of getting the image out of both the artist’s mind and body, and making it emerge from the apparatus. At this stage, before the picture is printed, the artist is left with the chemistry of photography. Alexia’s work then relies on manipulations, as if the film was nothing more than a sort of raw material; it is changed through optical and chemical interferences which result in doubling certains parts of the pictures and even trippling them just for the artist to be assured that everything has been adressed. As far as she is so closely concerned, she then behaves as if she were in front of a weird looking-glass, as if she would be convinced that the picture has definitely become « herself ». At the end of this process viewers can finally be entitled to look at « her » pictures.

monduit5 (5).png

Photo by redeye.org.uk.

The model of the models that Alexia’s photos show, it is a picture that has been taken out of the very depth of her body, out of the very length of the years that physically and mentally mold her, out of injures : the photo of an animal carcass, red with bloody muscles, a picture with red colours that are not typical to her work. Too easy as an image, you would think. We would then have to go along the path of her conscience at the moment when it is making its way up to the surface of her skin and of her sight. This would be nudity, plainly offered and shouted out; figures much too colourful, both hesitating between pain and caricature ; faces that have not made up their mind about whether they have to look or they have to stand up like an image waiting to be looked at. All of them would be comprised in her own gazing at herself, coloured visage grimmed with smiling traits, with red lips and white teeth. Also the truth about Alexia might come out from a photo of her visage which show a greenish face.

In front of all these slices of life, in front of this life displayed piece by piece, as if it were but fresh flesh, the viewer’s choice is twofold : whether he quits or keeps on staring at Alexia’s pictures. Whether he stands in front of them, or whether he comes back again. In both cases this is just because he has become convinced that what he is looking at is nothing else but true life. Alexia’s exhibit is not about beauty, nor about the « good ». What is played out does not make our senses flattered, nor our eyes enchanted. Here photos are about life. Life with its dangers and risks. This one life that spectators must take a risk to see.

Are things that we cannot say – unspeakable – the same as things we cannot see? Does « indicible/unspeakable» takes us toward « invisible ». Are these identical words meant to tell us about the same thing from different points of view ?

Alexia Monduit’s art of photography is in very close interelationship with some other artists. She belongs to the same universe as Geoffrey Silverthorne, Christopher Stromhôlm, Anders Petersen, Antoine D’Agata, and Diana Michener. In this world, she is building up her personal viewpoint. A world where there is nothing that cannot be said, nothing that cannot be shown.

Garry Winogrand

« Le fait de photographier une chose change cette chose… Je photographie pour découvrir à quoi ressemble une chose quand elle est photographiée. »

« Parfois c’est comme si… le monde entier était une scène pour laquelle j’ai acheté un ticket. Un grand spectacle mais où rien ne se produirait si je n’étais pas sur place avec mon appareil. »

Garry Winogrand, who was born in New York City in 1928 and died in Tijuana in 1984, is one of the most famous American photographers. Winogrand, together with photographers Robert Frank, Walker Evans, William Eggleston, is a corner stone of a new style that spread away from the States and still remains one of the most interesting movements in the history of art photography.

New York Vers 1962

New York – c. 1962. Photo by jeudepaume.org

The « Musée du jeu de Paume » in Paris offered a « rétropective » exhibition showcasing a large number of works from the very beginning of his career to the end. Garry Winogrand is a « street photographer, » an expression that has been stretched out to identify photographers who have embrace the streets, shooting people, business men walking out of their offices, the homeless on the pavement who wait for spare change, and so on. Being a street photographer is different from being a landscape or portraits photographer. No time is spent to prepare for the shooting. The key to success is to remain open to people, and conscious of what is going around you. Winogrand is one of these exceptionnal artists who, in the blink of an eye, is capable of perceiving what matters, to look at what is meaningful and start shooting – hilarious faces, brooding people, lovers and friends walking here and there.

It is not just pushing the « on » button of a camera. It can be daring. One must sometimes « steal » a behavior or a laugh, the tears that from faces.

Los Angeles 1980 - 1983 (Jeudepaume.org)

Los Angeles 1980 – 1983. Photo by Jeudepaume.org

Why insist on these basic characteristics of « street photography ? » This art is about capturing moments in a snapshot ; it is not playing randomly with a camera as if it were just a matter of automaticity, technique and equipment. Street photographers are taking images of human faces. Should people be ridiculous or busy, brooding or euphoric, the photographer has no responsability. It is not the photographer’s fault if people he is shooting are unconsciously expressing emotions, fear or happiness, as clear as if they had been shouting out their state of mind. They didn’t think of a camera looking for subjects, for smiling faces, strange behaviour or casual hats and clothes. They didn’t imagine while driving, walking, talking to themselves that someone would break into this « open » intimacy.

For long periods of time, Winogrand would spend days taking views of a very small part of New York City. This is a cornerstone of understanding the motivation behind his art. Street photography is not about discovering a awe-inspiring scenery or culturally unique people in a remote part of the world. It emphasizes paying attention to the small pieces of things – parts of buildings, street pavers, shop windows, garbage tins or mailboxes. Winogrand conveys that he has captured the proof that the « world as a whole stands in a nutshell. »

Garry Winogrand was a photographer in a time where people were hungry for images, whether surprising, informative, or frightening. He was working for magazines and newspapers, inspiring readers to think and filling them with wonders. To American eyes he offered views of New York real life, images of the city inhabitants, with hints about their concerns and their feelings. Later on, he widened the geographical and thematic scope of his photos, with wiews of Paris, Dallas, and London. Although taking photos in places away from his beloved New York, he never abandoned the core principles of « street photography » : to show a true presentation of a street with people, buildings, cars, buses, laughters, tears, sadness and smiles.

Winogrand worked in a time before the selfie, before fear of retribution for taking another’s photo without the blessing to do so. This exhibition of Winogrand’s work is interesting in that it shows a world before the explosion of images credited to technological advances, a world when people were not suspicious toward free photographers nor did they think their images were sacrosanct. Today there are still artists the likes of Gary Winogrand for whom he paved the way. These artists who are eager and spontaneousness, acting instinctively with not only their eyes, but also with their heart and their intuition.


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Quelques ouvrages de Pascal Ordonneau

Panthéon au Carré est disponible aux éditions de la Route de la Soie.

Promotion est disponible chez Numeriklivre et dans toutes les librairies "digitales"

Au Pays de l'Eau et des Dieux est disponible chez Jacques Flament Editeur ainsi que

La Désillusion, le retour de l'Empire allemand, le Bunker et "Survivre dans un monde de Cons".

"La bataille mondiale des matières premières", "le crédit à moyen et long terme" et "Les multinationales contre les Etats" sont épuisés. 


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