Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Errance by Raymond Depardon

I went to view Errance by Raymond Depardon at the Alliance Francaise on Monday. This was a delightful find for me. I have never heard of Depardon before. He is a founding member of Gamma and is now a member of Magnum. He has won many awards for his photos and directs movies as well. Live and learn eh?

Depardon's work is the most lyrical in all the Month of Photography exhibitions. Errance means wanderings in English. The exhibition are black and white landscapes of places that he has visited in 1999. But the choice of black and white and the way the images are printed point to more than a documentary of his travels. Depardon tends to shoot highly graphic images in high contrast scenes. Often there are no people in his photographs. In the photographs where there are people, they are in the distance or silhouetted. The way the images are printed point more to the state of mind of the photographer Depardon. He is showing a personal journey as he travels. The images share the dual purpose of showing where he wandered to as well as the experience of wandering.

I am not sure if this exhibition would appeal to many people. It is much more personal and moody. But it seems hopelessly romantic to me. He seems to be a kindred spirit of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love it.

I really learnt a lot in this year's Month of Photography. I am happy that we have such events here. There are talks and other events happening which I cannot attend because I am away. But those of you who are in Singapore should really make use of the opportunity. =)


Geoff said...

hey thanks for commenting on my blog earlier. re: depardon - yes, he is wonderful, he consistently photographs like a poet quietly writing between the lines with a razor sharp quill. the prints at the exhibition looked superb. sometimes though the work is a bit too detached and cool for my liking, a bit too zen. there is a definitely a consistent personal voice in his work, but i keep thinking it runs too closely to friedlander's to be a strong 'original' contender.(friedlander is to me the big 500-pound gorilla of this kind of stret photography) The polite way to say it would be to suggest they have similar sensibilities, despite being about 10 years apart in age!

To me, Anders Petersen's black and white work has a kick in the gut effect which somehow still translates well even on the low-res web pictures!

What always amazes me is how the black and white medium, although seemingly simple, can be put to such different uses and shapes by capable hands and eyes.

Geoff said...

one thing i'd also like to do is find a copy of depardon's errance book and find out what all the writing in it is about - there's a lot of it!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this post, i didn't know about this exhibition until i read this post. i bought the Depardon's Errance book 2-3 years back, though i didn't understand any about french language but the pictures are superb.