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Christine Delory-Momberger & Valentin Bardawil : The Power of the Innermost in Documentary Photography


This book continues the artistic process in which Christine Delory-Momberger engaged for nine years for the realization of her photographic triptych EXILS / REMINISCENCES and thus goes further in the history and the “off-screen” of this creation. The authors experiment and reveal the “quest” approach led by the photographer in the intimate areas, taking the work out of its aura of mystery to make it a public affair that concerns everyone. They share this reflection in an exchange of active glances constructing the new space of a citizen art and show in particular how the sphere of the intimate generates forms of investigation carrying transformation of oneself, the others and the world.

The project of this book did not impose itself from the start. There was first a meeting between the two authors, a request very quickly made by Valentin Bardawil to Christine Delory-Momberger to put words on the artistic process in which she had engaged for nine years for the realization of her triptych EXILS / REMINISCENCES and to go further in the history and the “off-screen” of this creation. It was not a question of reducing the power of the images by covering them with words but of updating how this creation was linked with an “intimate” that we had to define, what it had generated in the Real, and thus reveal the active interaction between art and life. It was therefore in no way a retrospective account of the stages of a creation but to concretely experiment from a photographic work what could be worth for an artist to lead his “in-quest” on a work which she would have carried out, to grasp the effects produced by this investigation in which she would have revealed herself and to observe the change taking place in the relationship with oneself, with others and with one’s creation. Take the work out of its aura of mystery to make it a public affair that concerns everyone, make the invisible visible and share it in an exchange of active looks constructing the new space of citizen art.

In this experimental endeavor, there was also on the part of the two authors the desire to debate the place that the intimate can have in documentary photography, to define its acting power and to identify its resources in terms of transformation of self and the world. . The intimate is not private, it is a relational concept that differs from the commonly accepted idea of ​​an inner forum that concerns only oneself. “The intimate is a social process which participates in the constitution of identities”. It takes place at a level of communication between beings, outside of any instrumentalization and normalization of social relationships, in an exchange of what escapes them and links them all at once in the sphere of the sensible. Taken from this angle, the intimate takes on a political dimension and becomes a space of mutual recognition and the place of a shared otherness where, at the same time, the other is what we are and what we are not.

This ties in with the idea of ​​a “sensitive democracy” defined as a form of political life taking into account the importance of affects and the validity of sensitive experiences in the constitution of the democratic bond. Documentary photography has its place in this idea of ​​a democracy based on mutual recognition as an active vector of people as responsible citizen. The word of the intimate constitutes a place of resistance and creation which thwarts all the endeavors of instrumentalization of consciousnesses and which makes the intimate a “concrete utopia”.


Christine Delory-Momberger is an academic, essayist and photographer. She is the author of numerous publications and books of interviews with photographers (Antoine d’Agata, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Klavdij Sluban, Stéphane Duroy). Her work as a photographer is part of the new scriptures of documentary photography.

Valentin Bardawil is director and co-founder of Photo Doc. which works to support and develop documentary photography, by organizing events around an annual fair and various exhibition venues. In collaboration with researchers, Photo Doc. is also developing an Observatory of new documentary scripts.


Christine Delory-Momberger & Valentin Bardawil : Le Pouvoir de l’Intime dans la Photographie Documentaire

Arnaud Bizalion editor

FF 17 x 21 cm – 96 p – 40 photographs

soft cover

ISBN 978-2-36980-193-1 – EAN 9782369801931

€ 19.50

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