One day in 1979, young photography student at the University of Provence, I took my courage in both hands and I wrote to Denis Brihat asking to see him. The school had imposed on the students the following exercise: make a report on a trade. I chose to illustrate the work of photographer. Denis Brihat was already a legend: the only one perhaps, in France, to practice photography “as an artist”, that is to say with the requirement to live only by the sale of his prints. He had also created a kind of school, workshop, which received a handful of young passionate for nine months.
His welcome was generous. He explained to me his work, miming for my report the various stages of the creation of a photograph, from the shooting in the room, to the printing in his extraordinary laboratory. In this way, I had the right to the quintessence of a practice and the overview of a life.
Twenty-one years earlier, Brihat had left Paris and his successful life as a reporter photographer (Niepce Award 1957) to settle in Provence and take a path for essential research:
“I wanted to do the photography I wanted to do since the shock received at the first major exhibition of Edward Weston in Paris in 1950. That is to say, a photograph not intended for reproduction, but a photograph ( a print) of great value.
The subjects: nature. I live there in the heart of it, and in great solitude. It gives me, along with music, a foundation for my life, a structure. Maybe that’s what I’m trying to translate. I listen to a lot of music and especially Bach (my record is “The musical offering”). Even though I have dealt with many subjects, there is an obvious and recurrent link: it is a systematic study of forms, of the architecture of nature. ”
While hanging this exhibition, I had the fleeting impression of putting a life on the wall. Who knows the work of the night, of the laboratory, an extension necessary to that of the light, knows the emotions which spring from this work, when the evidence, the rightness of the forms is offered to us, their revealed beauty. No one, better than Brihat, can teach us this lesson.
From September 6 to 19 Octobrer 19, 2019
Galerie Camera Obscura
268, boulevard Raspail 75014 Paris
Meeting with the artist on Tuesday, October 8 at 5 pm