Philippe Bréson, ‘Penmarc'h, Finistère’, Artist's Proof

French photographer Philippe Bréson (b. 1960, Paris, France) began practicing photography and the historic process of Silver Gelatin printing at a very young age. Initially attracted to photography’s immense power to record and interpret the world, Bréson explains that as he furthered his exploration of fine art photography, he continues to be attracted to searching for a singularity in the gaze and in the depth of photographic writing. Spending the first half of his life in the south of France, where the light appears to absorb everything, Bréson learned the romanticism of shadow and the beauty that could emerge from the darkness.

Philippe Bréson claims a surgical and manipulative approach to his photographic process. Preferring to use the gelatin silver technique, which allows him to intervene physically on the image, Bréson uses the negative, the patina and the strips. Unafraid of the irreversible damage, the risk, and transgression that this method involves, the manual process delivers original proofs on which the hand of the artist is overtly present. Each photograph is unique and its preservation offers much more guarantees than that of its modern equivalents. Bréson prefers the ancient photographic process, the use of gum bichromate, cyanotype or shooting camera obscura for their versatility and the dialogue that they maintain with the history of photography. For Bréson it’s impossible to disassociate the image captured from the post production work. The laboratory phase is where everything happens; it is the place of experimentation and where the accidents are inseparable from his photographic practice. It is in the dark room that an image captured is freed and can truly express itself. Furthermore, this photographer makes his own tools which to him is imperative to his photographic approach.

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About Philippe Bréson