Guillaume Herbaut

Posted: December 5th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: no blah blah: one artist | Tags: , | No Comments »

Photographer and reporter born in 1970.
Provides information in places where everything will not be the same anymore.
Lives and works in Paris.
Founded French agency L’Oeil Public in 1995 with other photographers.

He was trained in the use of 24×36 black and white silver photography in the way Magnum agency does but he dropped it for color pictures in 2001. As he states : Color brings some information. Then he chooses to shoot in a much more simple way, with less  move. He wants to incorporate people in a particular background to make the viewer understand instantaneously where it takes place. He is also interested in what is out-of-focus in its providing information capability.

To prepare each project, Guillaume Herbaut must find a local contact. Then he begins to investigate by gathering various documents such as press articles, books, movies, comics, music…
He also does a story-board because he tells a story : I am not a photographer who is wandering to find some images by chance (…). In my work there is little place to random things (…).
For the agency, Herbaut does mainly political and social coverages. He focuses on portraits on one side and these people’s lifestyle on the other side. Most of the time they are shown in a place which qualifies their occupation (police station, sport center, swimming pool) or at home (alone or with relatives).


5/7: Urakami, 2005, Courtesy de la Galerie Paul Frèches, Paris

Guillaume Herbaut usually designs portrait with an American shot and a frontal position. Subjects are shooted standing and looking at the camera. They are often posing.
Text means a lot to him. In the two Shkodra cycles, it is as much important as the pictures. Located in the North of Albania, Shkodra is a small town where the so-called Kanun law kills a lot of people among enemy families. Kanun is a 15th century text which defines revenge when somebody is murdered. Texts are being very important in this work. How could I tell the vendetta when all I meet are home locked-in families ? It is not easy. I had to put some texts. They are as much displayed as the photographs. They are framed, on a black background, the same size as the pictures themselves, explains Herbaut.

4/7: Slavoutich, 2002, Courtesy de la Galerie Paul Frèches, Paris

He went to places where tragedies happened to depict some dramatic situation mostly invisible today. Oswiecim is named from Auschwitz, city of Poland where the Nazis built the death camp and exterminated more than 900 000 people.
Herbaut depicts two kinds of events : the past ones which have been the headlines and the current ones which are not the most discussed.

Guillaume Herbaut devises his work 7/7 in seven parts as follows :

1/7 Livry (autobiographical)

2/7 Shkodra

3/7 Oswiecim

4/7 Slavoutich (built nearby Chernobyl to welcome homeless victims)

5/7 Urakami (suburbs of Nagasaki where the atomic bomb exploded on August 9, 1945)

6/7 Ciudad Juarez (located in Mexico across the border from El Paso, Texas. Since more than ten years by now about 400 women were tortured and killed).

4/7: Slavoutich, 2002, Courtesy de la Galerie Paul Frèches, Paris

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