The arena of French photography today accommodates various realities. Several processes play a part in this recent broadening of vision: among them, the progressive creation of a cultural European entity that has encouraged change, an increasingly strong presence of women in photography, and an art market that attracts an ever larger number of photographers—all contributing to a kind of "globalization" of photographic images.
I Only See The Dusty Road, 1992 (opposite). Upon leaving Bray, I wander in the open countryside, the immense fields, some freshly plowed, others bright yellow with flowering rapeseed. Suddenly, a small English cemetery, set permanently in the landscape, a few chestnut trees in flower, white tombstones, a stone wall, the immaculate lawn . . . and all around the labors of life continue.
There is a precise instant in time When a man reaches the exact center of his life, A fraction of a second, A fugitive particle of time quicker than a glance, More fleeting than lovers' bliss, Faster than light, And a man is awake to this moment.
Over the years, I have acquired the habit of writing down scenes and conversations taken from places I am compelled to visit: the subway and the R.E.R. [Regional Express Trains], hypermarkets. . . . For me it is a way to capture some aspect of the reality of the 1990s.
This Paris sky, cleaner than winter sky lucid with cold— I've never seen nights more starry, more bushy, than this spring With boulevard trees like shadows of heaven, Great fronds in rivers choked with elephant ears, Heavy chestnuts, leaves of plane trees— White water lily on the Seine, moon held by water's thread, Milky Way in the sky flops down on Paris, embraces The city, crazy, naked, upside down, mouth sucking Notre Dame.
The Hostage. He was an unreliable man. For our first date he showed up one year late. Therefore, when he left, to make sure he would come back, I insisted that he leave something with me as a hostage. A week later, he sent me his precious possession: a small French nineteenth-century painting entitled "The Love Letter," which portrayed a young girl who bore an uncanny likeness to me.
Age is bearing me away, and the dream of love forces me to strive increasingly to return. I lean out calmly over the abyss, which reminds me of a pharaoh's burial chamber. The shapes and colors of the bodies are unchanging, ash runs down the walls and in place of the bed, I can make out an altar, or a small boat.
fishermen return with the stars of the waters they pass out bread to the poor thread beads for the blind emperors stroll out into parks at this hour which is as bitter and precise as some old engraving servants bathe hunting hounds the light is putting on gloves therefore shut the window put out the light in your window as you would spit out the pit of an apricot a priest from his church
I had the privilege of spending my childhood on a farm in the Sâone Valley, in the center of France. Rural French life has undergone enormous changes during the course of this century. Now, I am trying to return to the farm of my childhood, to the light, the hard work, the importance of the sky, the life and the habits of my parents.
Like the sort of fishing that consists of letting lines drop to the bottom of the sea and then collecting all the fish that are caught, in a heap, netting them with the simple movement of the boat—the recruitment of Paris's advocates for the homeless is a kind of trawling.
In the early eighties, following the recession, economic changes such as increased automatization, new attention to Third World countries, and the massive inflation of the seventies, many Western countries witnessed the appearance of a phenomenon they believed had long since been eliminated: the growth of poverty.
I am profoundly linked to the women of Algeria and Kabylia by my ethnic origins as well as by the bonds created within my Algerian family. I am, however, well aware of the divergence of my own destiny from that of these women. I want to bear witness to the fact that behind each veil, there is a woman whose personal desires and capabilities are intricately woven within the history and the future of her country.
Recently Susan Sontag came to direct Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo. Why not Bouvard et Pecuchet in Somalia or Afghanistan? But what is worst is not this extra portion of cultural soul. It is, rather, the condescension and error of judgment with regard to force and weakness.
After my beloved brother Eric committed suicide, in 1973, I wanted to die in a dark road of Lebanon. For ten years I dressed, dreamt, and photographed in black-and-white— the mourning of the world: Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon, Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador. . . . But the only place in the world that frightened me was Alsace, in my own native country, in France, because there was a little cemetery there that showed a name I didn't want to see—Eric.
Christian Boltanski has over the course of his career developed a highly personal and sometimes troubling oeuvre, which frequently puts to the test basic assumptions about what constitutes an artwork. His media range from the mundane (newspaper clippings, used clothes, and amateur snapshots) to the ephemeral (flickering shadows, his own utterly elusive life story).
Robert Delpire, the director of Paris's Centre National de la Photographie, has for many years been one of the central figures in the field of photography in France. During the course of his career, he has divided his time between his roles as publisher, creative director, film producer, and international exhibition organizer.
Filmmaker Marcel Ophüls, director of such landmark documentaries as The Sorrow and the Pity (1971) and A Sense of Loss (1972), has recently brought us Veillées d'armes (translated as The Troubles We've Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime).
Picasso's contribution to photography has hardly been studied. The exhibition "Picasso Photographe (1901-1916),"1 presented at the Musée Picasso in Paris in June 1994, threw some light on this aspect of the artist's work. Picasso was shown to have been a prolific amateur photographer who documented his own studio and the still lifes there that he used as models, but he also made some selfportraits and landscape pictures.
Pierre Bonhomme is the director of Paris's Mission du Patrimoine Photographique. Gabriel Bauret questions Bonhomme about the prestigious archive's role, and the importance of the old in the creation of the new. Gabriel Bauret: As director of the Mission du Patrimoine Photographique, how would you describe current interest in the history of photography?
What Annette Messager has achieved is rare: the integration of postmodernism and feminism. Hers is an art of bric-a-brac, in which the sublime and the tacky exist on the same plane. But this may also be a definition of woman: sublime and tacky in one, a disordered bric-a-brac.
JEAN BAUDRILLARD is a prominent voice internationally in cultural and social criticism. His most recent book is Simulations and Simulacra. An exhibition of Baudrillard's photographs was shown recently in Paris. GABRIEL BAURET, formerly editor in chief of Camera International magazine, currently works free-lance as a photography editor and curator.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are courtesy of, and copyright by, the artist. Front cover photograph by Marc Le Mené; p. 1 photograph by Bernard Faucon, courtesy Agence Vu/Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris; p. 18 polaroid transfers by MiHyun Kim, courtesy Agence Métis, Paris;