The Next Move.
Photographs by Philippe Salaün.
T&G, 2011. 160 pp., 100 duotone illustrations, 9x9".
Philippe Salaün has been a photographer for almost 40 years,
alongside his other activity as an independent black and white
photographic printer. For a long time he principally favoured images of
daily life, sometimes with a humorous tone, but in recent years he has
become increasingly inspired by travel photography, particularly
portraits. He has made several series of photographs in Peru, Bolivia,
Mali and Vietnam.
Philippe launched his own workshop on April 1st 1979 specialising in
high quality black and white printing. He was given a scholarship from
the National Photographic Foundation of France and went to perfect
his skills in the USA with Ansel Adams, Jerry Uelsmann and at the
University of Tucson, Arizona.
Paris determines the focus of much of the work edited into this
book. In this body of production we witness Philippe introducing us to
his own particular sense of PLACE/MOMENT/SATIRE. These
sensibilities are of course calibrated by his long and rich relationship
with the city. The calibration also has a long half-life, as he carries it
with him everywhere he travels and photographs.
His style is made easily accessible to the viewer through its
recycling consistency. Reflected in the subject matter we also receive
the sense of the photographer, how he may be led astray, how he looks
for love, the moment of grace we all wait for. Philippe is a committed
humanist on a road trip. The walk from his home to the metro, a mere
five minutes of movement, is a road trip.
Philippe’s global vision of Paris is that formed by the constantly
walking photographer. He does not sentimentalise its grandeur or mind
its toxic elegance. He understands perfectly that Paris is vulnerable to
his sense of satire.
Not all of Philippe’s photos of people flying occur in Paris. Here
Philippe is collaborating with people who feel they cannot remain still
before the viewfinder. The compulsion to test the theory of gravity
proves too much for them as they wait in his viewfinder. He captures
them the moment they fly away.
In the journey photographs we get a preview of another huge body of
work Philippe has accumulated during his various travels over the past
The photographs of the bulls – often tragic – are a well resolved
critique of the capricious craziness attending the choreographed
horror of man’s cruelty to animals.
Even as I write this introduction in the depths of a southern
hemisphere. I imagine Philippe in Paris as he is walking down Rue
Beaurepaire in the direction of République, towards his atelier. As
always, he is amped for the photo, his camera is close at hand. He is
never seeking the illusion of the decisive moment. Rather he waits as
he walks for that moment of grace when the planets of PLACE/
MOMENT/SATIRE align. Max Pam.
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