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France – Pau

Harry Gruyaert was born in 1941 in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied photography and film in Brussels and later directed documentaries for Flemish television as a director of photography. Later, in the early 1960s, he moved to France and settled in Paris, his adopted city.
© Harry Gruyaert

However, it was American photographers, such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, who encouraged him to turn to fashion photography. Thus, Harry Gruyaert, a young creative, who saw the world in monochrome, had to wait for a trip to the United States to change his vision of things. There he discovered Pop Art and the power of color to transform a common place into an exotic kingdom.

© Harry Gruyaert

This new obsession with color that he translates as a physical experience is also a way to be more present to the world around him. On returning from this trip, this outstanding colorist will even explain that he feels closer to an American photographic approach than to French humanist photography.

© Harry Gruyaert

“Color is more physical than black and white, which is more intellectual and abstract. In front of a black and white photo, one wants to understand what is happening between the characters. With color, you have to be immediately affected by the different tones that express a situation,” explains Harry Gruyaert.

Over the years, he travels around the world to discover and capture the colors of Morocco, India, Egypt, Japan, but also of his native country, Belgium. Two books will then be dedicated to a collection of photographs: “Made in Belgium” and “Roots.”

© Harry Gruyaert
  1. t is his pictorial view of the world that will make him one of the rare European pioneers to give color a purely creative dimension. In 1982, he joined the world-famous Magnum agency and multiplied retrospectives and large photographic exhibitions.

Currently, it is the city of Pau that retraces part of his career in an exhibition entitled “Rivages,” dedicated to the subtle chromatic vibrations of the shores of the East and the West.

“Harry Gruyaert – Shores”

Parvis Espace Culturel E. Leclerc Tempo

2 Av. Louis Sallenave, 64000 Pau 

From April 14 to June 17, 2023

Thomas Durin