Logo Maison Européenne de la Photographie Paris
Mois de la Photo à Paris Novembre 2010 Berlin Brastislava Luxembourg Moscou Paris Rome Vienne

Paris Collects

Jean-Luc Monterosso
Artistic director

Poster realised by Vik Muniz

Once again, the Month of Photography has galvanised museums, cultural centres and galleries into action, this time carrying off the formidable feat of sparking interaction between public and private collections, showing previously unseen or little-known works, inviting parallels and exchanges within exhibitions, and suggesting unexpected analogies between photographs. The Maison Européenne de la Photographie collection, which boasts over 20,000 contemporary images, is open to all during the festival. Presented extra muros, alongside pieces from other collections, it offers itself up to the public gaze in all its diversity and uniqueness. Curators, museum directors and gallery owners have borrowed rare vintage prints, coherent sets of images that have never been on show before (such as the collection photographer Harry Callahan donated to the MEP, exhibited at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson), or outstanding works like the forty Mario Giacomelli prints on show at the Institut Culturel Italien.
This unusual way of temporarily airing a public collection in over fifty venues has given rise to new initiatives. These include spotlighting archive collections such as those of the Musée de la Marine, the Parisienne de Photographie and the Maison de Victor Hugo; showing original prints in parallel with reproductions; and focusing on all the different stages in the process of publishing art books (as the famous publisher Gerhardt Steidl has done at the Monnaie de Paris). Agathe Gaillard, for her part, has taken L’enfant flou [Blurred Child], the magnificent – but accidental – photograph by Jean-Philippe Charbonnier held at the MEP, and selected equivalents from the work of other photographers, creating a uniquely stimulating exhibition based on these “gifts from heaven and the unconscious mind”. More than just the 30th anniversary edition, this Month of Photography reflects an extraordinary amount of energy, intelligence and research.
But it also marks an important step along the way.
The advent of digital technology has radically affected photography, and this festival of traditional photography offers a splendid overview of what has nourished the eternal youth of an art that remains accessible to all and deeply rooted in its time. To see this, all we have to do is look at the photographs of France today, taken by fourteen young photographers and selected by Raymond Depardon, with whom they share the same ethical, disciplined approach. In photographs by Mohamed Camara, Didier Ben Loulou or emerging Swedish, Finnish, Hungarian or Romanian photographers, journeys through memories of the past are adumbrations of memories to come.
On the theme of “The Extreme”, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie focuses not only on major photographers whose work forms part of its collection (Pierre Molinier, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andreas Serrano, Joel-Peter Witkin and others), but also on more recent works or photographs made for the occasion, like those by Rodrigo Braga or the writer Pierre Notte. The festival would not be complete without its round table discussions, debates and public events. These include conferences at the Maison de l’Amérique Latine (bringing together Latin American publishers to coincide with a major exhibition); at the Institut Culturel Italien; and at the Musée d’Orsay to accompany the Heinrich Kühn show. With its fifty-five exhibitions and events, this 16th edition offers the general public a wide selection of outstanding experiences whose continuing aim is to share emotions, pleasures and discoveries in Paris, the City of Light and the cradle of photography.