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A great master of distortion, André Kertész (1894-1985) said he photographed not what he saw, but what he felt. With this in mind, we wandered the aisles of the world’s largest photography fair 1 in search of the nuggets we bring you here: photographs that make you feel beyond the image…

We were captivated by the sensuality of this veiled face photographed in close-up by Judith Stennecken 2 at the Marshall Gallery (Santa Monica). Playing on both proximity through the choice of a very tight framing and distance through the use of black and white, giving the whole a marmoreal aspect, the photographer almost succeeds in making us feel the breath passing through the veil. Less breathtaking, but just as beautiful and just as disturbing, is the series of elegant, sensual portraits by Uruguayan photographer Pablo Guidali presented at Vu’ (Paris). Tangled faces and bodies, often blurred, with velvety blacks and whites sublimated by palladium prints on cotton paper. Placing her research in a more dreamlike, fantastic realm, Agnès Geoffray continues to intrigue with her latest series, “Les Regardeuses”, presented by Galerie Florent Maubert. A parallel interplay of glances was activated at the Patinoire Royale in Brussels, which, in collaboration with Tokyo’s Miyako Yoshinaga gallery, showed Ken Ohara’s enlarged portraits (composed of 81 photos) from his “ONE” series, shot in 1970 on the streets of New York: a strange multiplicity of features in the uniqueness of face shape… Still in black and white, the truncated portraits by young Neapolitan photographer Sharon Formichella Parisi, represented by Die Mauer (Prato), also impressed us with their poetic mise en abyme of looks.

Corps et Solitudes

In contrast, Clarissa Bonet’s “City Space” series, shown by La Galerie Rouge (Paris), reduces individuals to isolated silhouettes in the vast geometric spaces of cities, theatricalised by the play of light and shadow to the point of surreality. A similar sense of surreality emanates from the images by Constance Nouvel, winner of the Ruinart Prize, presented by In Situ (Romainville): reduced here to a hand opening a door plunged into darkness, there to shadows, the human presence is enigmatic. Also enigmatic is Vladimir Antaki’s “Sleeping Beauty” (shown at Galerie Tanit): a sleeping beauty stretched out on a staircase beside the pool of a select Beirut club, seemingly levitating, as if indifferent to the noise and fury of the world… Also enigmatic are the landscapes by David De Beyter at Galerie Bacqueville (Lille), re-exploiting the stigmata of archive photographs used to construct UFO mythology: dazzling stain, scratches transformed into luminous strokes… exploring the boundaries between reality and fiction, his irradiating ufological 4 landscapes from his “Les Sceptiques” series question us about the programmed obsolescence of many of our beliefs based solely on the illusory power of the image…

An unreality far removed from the real, unfiltered bodies photographed by Claudine Doury (In Camera Galerie, Paris), Ren Hang and Marie Tomanova (Stieglitz19, Antwerp) or Yelena Yemchuk (Kominek, Berlin).

Paris Photo was held at the Grand Palais Ephémère in Paris from November 8 to 12 (see Acumen #40).

Veil, 2016

Series “El lugar de los jazmines” [The place of the jasmines].

Ufology is the study of unidentified flying objects, known as O.V.N.I. in French and U.F.O. in English.


Judith Stenneken : @ju.sten


France – Paris