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If he revolutionized fashion photography by giving new life to the engrossed and statuesque models of the pre-war period through the irruption of a lively, humorous and offbeat “spirit of reportage,” he never ceased to renew and experiment, to the point of being accused of losing his way and reproached for his excessive eclecticism.

From the photojournalism of his beginnings to the “imaginary, dreamlike, fictitious reportage,” exploiting the unrealistic resources of digital imagery through his Bestiaire or Chimères series, combining realism and the marvelous, in the 1990s, from street photography to the plastic research of his Vraies Semblances series (1980-1986) mimicking the great female portraits of Western painting, Franck Horvat has never let himself rest on his laurels. It even seems that he has conceived his photographic practice as an eternal restart. 

Two years after his death at the age of ninety-two, a tribute is paid to him through some 250 prints made during the first fifteen years of his career, from 1950 to 1965. In addition to the iconic photographs that appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar after he revolutionized fashion photography with his “natural settings,” a number of his early photographs show the intensity of a gaze, that of a “photographer of the body and the intimate.” An intensity sometimes bordering on theatricality through the use of tight shots accentuated by grain effects, giving the silhouettes a presence, an almost tactile reality.

Stéphanie Dulout

Exhibition at the Jeu de Paumes 
Tours Castle
37000 Tours –
Until 30-10-2022