With sweetness and passion, the great traveling photographer tells us about his recent love for color and his image of Paris.
Why this title "A moment so sweet"?
Raymond Depardon: This keyword brings together images taken a little clandestinely, without criteria or personal or work, "other" photos, vaguely gathered for a film or book location, and color. They were taken in quiet moments, in between, breaks, which explains their eclecticism. I never considered myself a color photographer, even though I had already voluntarily chosen the color for the DATAR campaign - Interministerial Delegation for Regional Planning and Regional Attractiveness - this tour of the cities of France exhibited at the National Library of France. My colors are the opposite of those of stormy skies, etc ... Their softness reveals perhaps a more vivid feeling of the disappearance.
Do you like territories a little abandoned, forgotten or about to be?
Raymond Depardon: At my age I feel freer. With the recognition of my peers and the public, I feel soothed. I see things in a more optimistic way, and not only as a reporter or journalist as before. I no longer pay any account except with myself. I place myself further away from things, I have less the feeling of making an offense by photographing people, I assume and I can affirm my tenderness. My interests shifted, I got tired of Africa where I spent so much time. I like to take my time now, give me the luxury of hesitating. Go back to the places, see places where there is nothing special, but I must be careful not to disperse, avoid pecking here and there. Fix myself in some places as I did recently in Harar, Ethiopia, or in Tibesti palm grove in Chad. Do not ride the road all the time. You know, when you think that behind the hill, it's probably better, and behind this other hill, it's even better ... We must stop this race against the clock.
Does not this new sweetness correspond to the bittersweet taste sometimes assumed by everyday banality?
Raymond Depardon: Yes, I like quirky cities, a little devastated like the city of Los Angeles today, less flashy, and its palm groves. I really like the palm groves (laughs)! I noticed, for example, that there are a lot of Japanese people in Honolulu that is very close to Pearl Harbor, and that this city that goes down to the beach is quite commonplace, not yet "crushed" by globalization, so that interests me.
And apart from the palm groves, do you still like walking in Paris sometimes?
Raymond Depardon: Oh yes, I have on Paris the gaze of the prodigal son, the traveler who returns with fantasies full head. When I'm in Africa or elsewhere, I think of Parisian cafe terraces, when you sip a drink quietly, with friends, neighborhood pubs ... It's a bit like the "return of the warrior" syndrome (laughs). In this exhibition there are not many photos of Paris except three: a very large, taken in a neighborhood where I lived, boulevard de Port-Royal, to a terrace. Another on a terrace all covered in red towards the Place de l'Odeon. Finally a photography shop, boulevard de Courcelles. But this is not really the purpose of this exhibition. I did not hurt otherwise, although I still have a relationship of love-hate with the urban.
You used a lot the red color that stands out from the background of photos with lighter, almost faded colors ...
Raymond Depardon: You know I am very "barley sugar" in the background, very "Formica", I indulge in tenderness, a certain nostalgia, a side "postcard" (laughs). I have often noticed that women dress in red to see them! The color was also interesting for technical reasons: by putting these new modern movies in my old Rolleiflex, this device "vintage" as they say, the color I like, there is no "fat" . Be careful, I'm not a Manichean and I'm not a dreamer either. I never stop having a political look while remaining very open and very vigilant about what reality is. I am always looking for the real. Now the color reflects well, today, for me, this reality of everyday life.
"Raymond Depardon: A moment so sweet", from November 14, 2013 to February 10, 2014. Grand Palais. grandpalais.fr
50 invitations (for 1 person) are to be won for the exhibition by writing to: [email protected]