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Château de Tours : Bernard Descamps : Beyond the appearences


A tireless traveler, Bernard Descamps has been exploring photography in all its forms, from reportage to landscape and portrait, from black and white to color, for fifty years. This exhibition presents around 80 black and white black and white prints from the 1970s.

Mali, India, Japan or even Vietnam… He has traveled to many countries, meeting people and their customs. However, he offers travel photography which is above all that of the inner journey: his images, whose purity often approaches abstraction, “do not describe objects or events” but “wish to reveal tiny fragments of time” according to his own terms.


Photographic Rhapsody
Beneath the white, slack snow, the warm breath of black Etna… If the evidence of the beauty of the world is displayed in the refined photographs of Bernard Descamps, we also perceive in him the desire to show its complexity. and ambivalences through the use of a photographic form that gives pride of place to the fragment, draws from the oriental philosophy of non-duality the strength of a free look at the world and develops a visual music ready to adapt to the lyrical outbursts of the soul.

This constant attempt to question the thing seen goes hand in hand with a gaze that is more clairvoyant than voyeur capable of revealing the mysteries of the world. In this respect, the photographs of Bernard Descamps possess a form of lyrical quality. The photographer also claims to travel both in the world and in himself.

Bernard Descamps, rather than freezing the imagination in a blissful admiration of the sublime and the elsewhere, opens hidden doors and brings together cultures very far apart, summoned to allow him to formulate his emotions. We then spot in him a look that vibrates in his discovery of the world when he freezes the image before resuming the thread of his life and his journey. 

Heloise Conesa
Curator of heritage, in charge of the collection of contemporary photography in the Department of Prints and Photography of the National Library of France.


Born in Paris in 1947, doctoral student in biology, Bernard Descamps became a photographer in the early 1970s.
He is now represented by the Camera Obscura Gallery and was one of the founding photographers of Agence VU in 1985.
He essentially works on the choice of framing when shooting, in a square format, going against the “academic” rules of composition. His main works are in black and white. He captures those moments when reality mixes with his imagination. He notably exhibited with André Kertesz (his “master”), at the Leverkusen museum in 1976.


Bernard Descamps : Au-delà des apparences
October 28, 2022 – April 16, 2023
Château de Tours
25 Avenue André Malraux
37000 Tours, France

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