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Xavier Blondeau
Xavier Blondeau
Xavier Blondeau

Xavier Blondeau

Country: France
Birth: 1966

While on a series of trips to discover the immensity of barren lands, Xavier Blondeau starts wondering about the place of the individual in his environment. Turning to photography is his way of giving substance to his questioning. In 2009, he picks up this photographic work revolving around the individual, which he carries out in addition to his day job as researcher-lecturer. Through his photographic series he is looking for increasingly intimate answers. His approach remains instinctual -although he has relented and now better structures his work- while leaning toward a highly pared down kind of aesthetics. He is driven by emotion only, and this is how he navigates between abstraction, where he explores intimacy, and a very graphic kind of representation, in order to anchor this fantasy in reality. His photographs always shroud the scene in uncertainty, thus encouraging viewers to come up with their own interpretation of the photographer's response to his own questioning. Xavier Blondeau has been very active on the art scene since 2011 and he regularly exhibits his work. His innermost thoughts slowly emerge with each new series of photographs
 

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Francis Malapris
Schizothymic baby-boomer, at the age of 12 Francis takes refuge in computer science and excels in this field despite social and academic failure. In 1996, as he becomes an engineer, he meets the need to preserve memories of the Moment and tries photography. Gradually, this utopia fades to give way to the sensitivity he has so long repressed. 20 years later, he is an accomplished self-taught artist through the study of technique and the masters who inspire him such as Raymond Depardon, Rafael Minkkinen and Daido Moriyama. Key encounters have formed his photographic approach to bring him to social contact and staging. He then abandons computer sciences to exploit his bubbling creativity, full of sensitivity. The human being is then at the center of his work, after the fashion of the "Self" (Freud), which lies between unconscious desires and moral standards. Affected by the death of a friend, he undertakes a strong introspection that will highlight neuroses that he crystallizes through nude photography. In 2011, he begins the IN SITU project about mental escape, a phenomenon that concerns him. In 2014, he develops a shooting process to build the AQUATIC series. In 2017, the images encounter a great success, are published and exhibited at the FEPN in Arles, namely with the festival bill. With his installation in the heart of the Saint Anne chapel, Francis goes beyond photography to offer a contemporary art installation which sublimates female energy. Artist Statement "The human element is a fantastic material. I like observing bodies, their movements and expressions, sometimes with the idea of appropriating them. The part that fascinates me the most, because almost inaccessible, is the soul, at the head of the personality with its tastes, emotions and especially its history. Then comes the complex relationship to society, which evolves with environment and time. I approach the person naturally with openness and sensitivity, on the lookout for singularities that may resonate in me. From object, 'the other' becomes a proper individual, whose distinguishable particles and sub-particles I highlight. The main theme of the work I am presenting is that of the relation to reality: whereas the physical body is submitted to the present, imagination is free to roam without constraint in time and space. The ambiguity of this permanent oscillation between rational and irrational, resignation and escape, motivates me in my research where letting go is the motto. The plurality of my projects illustrates the richness of mental spaces that I have visited. Whether dreamlike or real, I put limits only on the possible interpretation of the codes that I use."
Marie-Laure Vareilles
- Testify to the variety of cultures on our planet.Education: Interior architect. I travelled on all continents, camera in hand, to testify of the diversity of countries on our planet. Over the years I have experienced different cultures, landscapes, encounters … The cultures of the entire world are in constant evolution. My work is to serve the memory of the people and their countries all around the world.- Creation of photo montage : imagine a universe of possibilities, elaborate the encounter of the unlikely. Mixing elements, transforming scale relations, rejecting logical constructions... Today I give a new life to the thousands of negatives taken, recreating imaginary worlds where poetry, dreams and surrealism alternate.- Permanent exhibition : Marseille : galerie Massalia; Vaison la Romaine, in the old town : atelier ANSATU & MAILOAll about Marie Laure Vareilles:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?It was not my dream.AAP:Do you have a mentor?I remember about the first exhibition I have visited : it was Salgado with beautiful works in black and white. The subject he had worked on was men working by hand, all over the world... Beautiful.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I took my first photo in 1985, while traveling in Turquey. It was my first trip alone abroad and I wanted to share my impresion with my family. Taking photos seemed to be the best medium for sharing places I had visited, people I had met.AAP: What or who inspires you? Since I am travelling and taking photos, I have realised how fast our world is changing. Faster and faster. Shooting is a way to keep testimony from a time which doesn’t exist any more : the more I travel, the more I realise that our differences are less and less visible.AAP: How could you describe your style?I shoot what I see, very quickly. But as soon as light is changing I shoot again ! Landscape, architecture, sky, people... many subjects can be interesting for the montages I create when I come back in my studio.AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?Since the begining, I am working with Nikon cameras. During the last few years, I have definitly adopted digital camera. My last one is the D-800.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Not enough : after shooting, I spend a lot of time creating montages. For this reason I keep each photo, just in case ! But it might be a problem in the futur with hardware !AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?They are so many. Editing a list would be a nightmare. Especially if I forgot to mention some of them.AAP: Your best memory has a photographer?I will never forget my experience in Bangladesh. I had never seen so many people working by hand, what ever they do, transport, create, make… they do not use use any machine. They work hard in bad conditions but they keep smiling!AAP: Your worst souvenir has a photographer?I had a bad time in Guinea. Working for an editor who wanted me to take photos from the Niger river and the every day life. The problem is I had to deal with blackmail from the people who were supposed to help me.
Ernest Cole
South Africa
1940 | † 1990
Ernest Cole was born in South Africa’s Transvaal in 1940 and died in New York City in 1990. During his life he was known for only one book: House of Bondage – published in 1967. In 2011, the Hasselblad Foundation produced a follow-up: Ernest Cole: Photographer. Cole’s early work chronicled the horrors of apartheid and in 1966 he fled the Republic of South Africa becoming a ‘banned person’. He was briefly associated with Magnum Photographers and received funding from the Ford Foundation and Time-Life. In North America, he concentrated on street photography in primarily urban settings. Between 1969 and 1971, Cole spent an extensive amount of time on regular visits to Sweden where he became involved with the Tiofoto collective and exhibited his work. From 1972, Cole’s life fell into disarray and he ceased to work as a photographer, losing control of his archive and negatives in the process. Having experienced periods of homelessness, Cole died aged forty-nine of pancreatic cancer in 1990. In 2017, more than 60,000 of Cole’s negatives missing for more than forty years were discovered in a Stockholm bank vault. This work is now being examined and catalogued.Source: Magnum Photos Ernest Cole (1940–1990)—one of South Africa’s first black photo-journalists—created powerful photographs that revealed to the world what it meant to be black under apartheid. With imaginative daring, courage, and compassion, Cole portrayed the everyday lives of blacks as they negotiated apartheid’s racist laws and oppression. Apartheid, which means “apartness” in Afrikaans (the language of South Africa’s white minority of Dutch descent), was an often brutally enforced legal policy that separated people by race in all aspects of life, within a white supremacist hierarchy of power. Born in Eersterust, a black freehold township in Pretoria, Cole was forcibly relocated with his family to nearby Mamelodi in the late 1950s. While still a teenager, he began working as a darkroom assistant at Drum, a black lifestyle magazine in Johannesburg. There he mingled with young black South African photographers, journalists, jazz musicians, and leaders of the burgeoning anti-apartheid movement. Inspired by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photo-essays, Cole embarked on a life mission to produce a book that would awaken the rest of the world to apartheid’s corrosive effects. House of Bondage was published in New York in 1967. Although it was immediately banned in South Africa, contraband copies spurred on the country’s emerging activist photographers. Cole’s images are hard-hitting and incendiary, yet often subtle and even elegant. He frequently worked clandestinely with a hidden camera to capture scenes he was forbidden to photograph, employing striking perspectives and framing. Many of the prints on view here are displayed for the first time uncropped, as he originally intended, and often accompanied by House of Bondage’s incisive captions. In 1966 Cole was arrested by the South African police. Fleeing to Europe, he took with him little more than the layouts for his book. He spent the remaining 23 years of his life in painful exile between Sweden and the United States; after 1975 he was often destitute, living on New York City streets and in the subway. In 1990 he died of cancer at the age of 49—one week after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Nearly all his possessions were lost; fortunately, he had given some prints to Tio Fotografer, a Swedish photographers’ association, which later donated them to the Hasselblad Foundation. Bringing this remarkable artist’s works to the international stage, Ernest Cole Photographer commemorates his pioneering efforts to capture the complex truths of day-to-day, lived experiences during harrowing times. Critiquing institutionalized segregation and celebrating human resilience, Cole challenged the status quo, and his work continues to speak eloquently and forcefully to contemporary issues of poverty and racial inequality in the United States and worldwide.Source: Grey Art Gallery, NYU
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