Paris being the “birthplace” of photography, has always kept a special place in its heart for photography. November was the “Mois de la Photographe”, and many galleries showed the works of photographers.
Without a background to help me “look” at photography, I have simply chosen those photographers that struck a chord with me, made easy by the fact that they were showing in some very up-market galleries. All the photographers have websites that show all their works, PLEASE google them and look.
One of the Galleries that specialize in photography is the “Filles du Calvaire”. They showed new works by Thibaut Cuisset, who is well known in France for his photos of the French countryside. All these pictures were taken in Syria – roman ruins, desert-scenes, new housing estates, old farms, all in a soft washed-out pink, ocher color. Apparently the Syrian greeting is (directly translated) “what is your color today?” and that is the atmosphere that Cuisset has evoked – that of a burned-out desert evening. Beautiful. He has a website, though none of these scenes, they are new. He also had some works on the show here in the Cite, housing projects in Moskow, that also show his characteristic flair for composition and color.
At La Maison de la Photographe Europienne, a non-commercial exhibition center, the works of Koos Breukel caught my eye. Large-scale (he uses a large-format camera) portraits, so alive that one can almost see them blink! Do look on his website.
At the Gallerie Nelson Freeman is Eric Potevin, whose pictures really are more like paintings than photographs. He groups the photographs together, but exchanges them from exhibition to exhibition, keeping to the central theme of the grouping. The pictures “talk” to one another, he creates meaning by juxtaposing the different objects with one another. Very little use of color or background give the objects a monumentality. Poitevin lives and works in the small town of Mangiennes in the Meuse region, where most of his other works center around the preservation of nature. Look at his Website.
At the Gallerie Particulaire, is a very very interesting show on at the moment. Michael Wolf was born in Munich, grew up in the USA where he studied in Berkeley UC, and then at the University of Essen. he now lives and works in Hong Kong, hows that for a broad background.
This exhibition is called “We are watching You….” and is clearly divided into two separate parts. In the one called “Tokyo compression” the photographer fills the role of voyeur, with his camera in one of Tokyo’s busy stations, taking pictures of tired commuters inside the humid coaches. The pictures are framed by the train windows, the people are unaware that they have been photographed, and reveal very intimate, private moments.
The other half of the exhibition is entitled “Paris street view” and completely different in that where the Tokyo photos are in perfect focus and relatively small, these are almost completely pixellated and large (200cm app.). This is because Wolf “appropriated” the images from Google Street View. I don’t know if it was a one-off, the camera on one of the street corners, a camera mounted on a moving vehicle or what, but the signal was sent via the internet. I took a close up of the pixellation, because when you look at a small image it looks right again, you loose the effect that the blow-ups rely on. Once again people photographed without their knowledge, but showing an almost anthropological view of Paris today. Wolf has selected his images carefully to give us almost the same scenes as those that made Paris famous during the 1930’s, but he also opens up the question: What is the use of all those anti-terrorist laws that prohibit us from taking photos of military, government sites, if we can simply google it without leaving home? But DO GOOGLE WOLF!! He also took incredible photos of Chicago while one an exchange- bursary.