Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Four French Photographers, a group exhibition which is a look through the eyes of four master photographers: Edouard Boubat, Robert Doisneau, Bernard Plossu, and Philippe Salaün, who all poignantly capture the fleeting, magical moments of humanity -the beauty amidst the chaos.
Edouard Boubat (b. 1923–1999) was born in Paris and is known as France's most famous romantic photographer. As the son of an army chef, he heard many tales of the Great War, and as a result he chose to bear witness to the light and beauty in life, not the dark. Because I know war… because I know the horror, I don’t want to add to it.… After the war, we felt the need to celebrate life, and for me photography was the means to achieve this. His 50 year career began after he studied typography and graphic arts. After graduating he exhibited his first professional photograph at the Salon International de la Photographie and was awarded the Kodak Prize. He then began work as a photojournalist, where his assignments often took him to poor and desolate regions, but Boubat still managed to capture only love and beauty. Considered an heir of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” photography, Boubat’s remarkable instincts brought the emotion and beauty of life to our gaze. Public collections that hold his work include Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Minneapolis Institute of Art, among others.
Robert Doisneau (b. 1912–1994), one of France’s most noted photographers, recorded the joie de vivre of day to day life in France with his charming, poetic images. Doisneau initially studied engraving and lithography, and after his graduation in 1929, he started photographing professionally, and throughout his career worked in advertising, fashion, as well as working for the resistance as both a photographer and soldier. He published his first book of photographs, La Banlieue de Paris (“The Suburbs of Paris,”) in 1949, his first of over twenty publications, often comprised of images of Paris and Parisians. For Doisneau, the street was his arena, and he combined his humor, his anti-establishment values, and his deep sense of humanism, making him a pioneer of photojournalism. Doisneau won the Kodak Prize in 1947, the Niepc Prize in 1956, and has been the subject of major retrospectives at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, and the Witkin Gallery, New York.
Bernard Plossu (b.1945) was born in South Vietnam and has spent his career extensively traveling through the jungles of Chiapas in Mexico, the American West, India, the Aeolian Islands, and Niger, realizing his romantic photographic vision along the way. He is cherished by generations of French young people, and his is widely regarded as a leading figure in French photography. His first photographic travels were when he was an early teen, traveling to the Sahara with his father with a Kodak Brownie Flash in hand. Plossu’s photographs have been the subject of numerous books, and he has exhibited internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain; and Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, France.
Philippe Salaün (b. 1943), born in a small village in Brittany, is esteemed in France as a master printer, and he collaborated with many of the champions of French photography including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edouard Boubat, Robert Doisneau, William Klein, among others. In addition to his printing, he is also a gifted photographer in his own right, and while perhaps not as renowned as those he collaborated with, the breadth of his work certainly parallels theirs. After winning the National Foundation Photography Award, Salaün travelled to the United States to study with Ansel Adams and Jerry Uelsmann, and went on to travel and make work in France as well as throughout Europe, North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Salaün is unafraid to capture human vulnerability with a pointed sensitivity that results in works which are often amusing and always expertly composed.