Photography films by Tënk

For the third consecutive year, Tënk echoes the Rencontres de la photographie d'Arles, with a selection of 6 films in which photography occupies a place, whether it is central or on the edge, whether it is the subject or the medium.

When Josef Koudelka frames, it's small steps, on one side, on the other, and then on the other again. In Koudelka Shooting Holy Land, his assistant Gilad Baram films him on the land of Palestine, looking for new images, but also images to be remade. He films him waiting and groping, not on one side, not on the other, in the middle of concrete, fences and barbed wire, to fix an obsession on his large films: what is a wall.

"Shooting": in French, literally: "tirer". If Koudelka claims that he has never been to a country at war (But Czechoslovakia? But Israel?), the photographers who testify in Shooting the Darkness had never been there either, until the war came to them. They photographed the Queen of England and the cattle shows, weddings and small events in their city, Belfast. And suddenly they found themselves in the middle of shooting and bombing, with this new mission: war photographers. That is, often, to shoot violence and death. The film looks back at the decisive moments that "made" some famous photos, but also and above all at what it means, politically and intimately, to bear witness to such events.

The World of Luigi Ghirri is a film that approaches the work of the Italian photographer in an affective way, trying to reach what could be his look: something of kodachrome, attentive to the forms, a little pastel sometimes, therefore with joy and a little melancholy. Gianni Celati, a famous Italian writer, makes a film about his photographer friend, and goes from meeting to meeting to make a portrait: the spoken portrait of a look.

The photographer of Distant Constellation is not at work. He is resting, he has plenty of time to rest, to remember. In this film, which is a series of portraits in a retirement home in Istanbul, photography is not central, but there is this photographer. He seems to have already left the world, and yet, from his past, he keeps this look that needs to fix images, to aim through the eyepiece, and, when the light is suddenly perfect on a face, to trigger - to fix one more moment, which is added to all the others.

Tënk also offers two short films, which use photography as a raw material: Tony Donoghue advocates sobriety. If everyone could make a film in his "parish", it would not be bad. Instead of spending tons of carbon to film on the other side of the world. 6 Farms, A Film From My Parish, is just that: "6 farms, a film in my parish". Is it for sobriety that he decides, to make his 6 portraits of local farms, elliptical and poetic, not to film, but to photograph? Even if it means photographing almost continuous movement? 25 images per second, is that really necessary?

Another film that uses photography to construct its narrative: Guillermina. Here, it is the still images and their accumulation that bring a new meaning to the story told by a voice-over. Photography as an archive: dozens of black women, nannies, posing next to the white children they looked after, in Cuba, in the first half of the 20th century. Black women who in the image gradually fade away, because their skin is underexposed, or simply because they are hidden: slaves useful to accompany the child, but who do not have this right: to be fixed by the photographic image, to remain in family archives, to remain in history...

Walking through the streets of Arles or going from film to film here: let's carefully bypass the clichés, let's dig into the images, let's question their making, the ways of fixing and telling the world. 

Posted on 02.08.2021
  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture