Edition 2006


Closed on 17 September 2006
“He’s a real fellow traveller. He arrived with his photos from Normandy, where he was born, and I found him very touching: he showed me pictures of social housing taken in Le Havre, very simple photos, and I saw straight off that he was authentic, he had incredible potential. We became close friends at once and I suggested he should come and live at my place. He joined Magnum before I did ; it was him and Guy Le Querrec who got me to make the move. He’s someone I like very much: a great lover of photos, film and books, and a photographer you can’t ignore.”
Raymond Depardon
For his professional commissions and personal journeys, Jean Gaumy deliberately heads off in search of moments of solitude and isolation that satisfy his need to recharge, far from people and the urban environment. This exhibition of photographs taken over a decade or so, reflects his taste for landscapes and deserted places once marked by humans, where “everything, in spite of appearances, is moving, seeding and being transformed”. From the mountains of Piedmont in Italy to the cliffs of the Pays de Caux in Normandy, the industrialised Seine estuary, Fécamp and the coastline near Berck, Jean Gaumy invites us to discover an intimate piece of work that is a far cry from the photographic essays of sealed spaces and small human communities that are more typical of his output.“Landscape. Traces. Photos without humans. Wanting to be alone. People talk to me of journeys, of paths travelled, but I’m thinking of The Road a few dozen pages written by Julien Gracq, the outline of a novel about destinations beyond reality. A secular, fossil road, like a numb sign pushing you forward, undecided, caught between the lure and the lack of any point of arrival. Like that route, our photos are always the markers of a journey we know little about. We take them as if planting milestones. We are tiny photographers, like surveyor-travellers that drift around, cat-like: vagabonds yet homebodies. Impenitent prowlers obsessed by settings, by petrified light ; memory-makers who hunt for gaps, eyeing ultra-small things wary of the danger of photos, of their deadening effect. There’s a hint of voyeurism in the traveller: voyaging voyeurs.I don’t like towns and cities, especially the huge ones that are practically spineless. I prefer their outskirts. But I’m always eager for the heightening touches of lights, winds and tides, of morning frosts, of cool and warm clouds that weigh on the body like plump eiderdowns, of thick storm-unknotting rains, of scintillating drizzle, of the chill of hollows, of the crisp brightness that pierces the gloom. Of rutted lanes leading to timeless places. I instinctively feel the need to reconnect with naive links. Our species clean up by clearing out, and leaves scarcely any room for others. All of us, together, have grown deaf to the signs the universe is tirelessly continuing to emit into the ether.Our species poise to feel very alone and maybe they already are.”
Jean Gaumy

Exposition présentée à l’Atelier de Mécanique et produite par les Rencontres d’Arles. Exposition organisée avec la collaboration de Magnum Photos et le soutien du laboratoire Dupon.

  • 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