Please meet Raymond Depardon, one of Magnum’s photographers since 1978 when he joined the famous agency founded by Henri Cartier Bresson and Robert Cappa. He is also well known as a photojurnalist and documentarist, but remained true to photography, his first love, to this day. Depardon started taking pictures when he was 12 and living with his family at a farm, in Villefranche-sur-Saone, France. He left for Paris when he was 16 and one of his first jobs was to take photos of an opening-night at the cinema: the movie Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, how cool is that? You can see what we had to say about Goddard in another post, here.
The majority of his photographs are black and white, but there were moments when he chose the color. And this is what I want to talk to you about. It is a rather small part of his work, but still significant, a collection of 161 photos, from the late 1950s to the present day, named ‘Un moment si doux’ meaning ‘Sweet moment’.
Taking it backwards, one great moment as such took place recently, in 2012, when he was designated to take the famous presidential portrait of François Hollande, the photo which will be in every city hall in France for 4 years. It is a big deal because every president wants to be different from his predecessors and still send the right message, so the photographer must rise to the expectations. Depardon was acclaimed again.
But not all the pictures are like this. He travelled all over the world – to Africa, South America (Chile, Peru), Scotland, Lebanon, Hawaii, Vietnam and many more just to capture moments that are either hard, important or just every-day life moments. Like the consequences of the Lebanese civil war, in Beirut. Or the gloomy streets and houses in Glasgow. Or the sunny beaches in Waikiki. Or a portrait of Edith Piaf’s. Or the richness of color and impressive poverty in places like Africa or South America.
I will leave you enjoy some of his work, but make sure to go to see them if you get the chance to have his work exhibited in your town.
Van-Tao, Vietnam, 1972. Image via magnumphotos.com
On the official poster of the exhibition I got to see at the Grand Palais, in Paris, there is a selfportrait of Raymond Depardon’s, who stands on its first scooter. The photo was taken just soon after his arrival in Paris, when he was 17. He took many selfportrais, as he sent them to his family so they could rest assured that he was doing well. I thing it is such a touching story that says many things also about the kind of man Depardon is.