He is the last monument of French photography. A formidable character and a rare human being. What was called in my youth with respect and admiration: a true liberal.
A bottomless pit of tolerance, generosity, respect, culture …
Three exhibitions honor him this month; we want to whisper: Finally!
In recent years, with our proximity in the Luberon, my wife and I regularly see Solange and Denis.
Every lunch is a marvel, and if Denis was a few years younger, my wife would have left me without doubt to seduce him.
Look carefully, in the last portfolio: The Friends of Bonnieux. There is a portrait of Julien Levy. In the 30s and 40s of the last century Julien Levy was in New York the first and greatest photo gallerist. One day, he came to see Denis, he could have crossed paths with another monument, this one a New Yorker of adoption : Alexey Brodovitch.
Thanks to Didier Brousse, Heloise Conesa, Patrick Clamaron, Nico Foss and Solange Brihat thanks to whom we were able to produce this edition!
Héloïse Conésa, of the BnF, wrote the following text:
Denis Brihat or the “naturing nature”
Watching a photograph of Denis Brihat is a fascinating experience. Beyond a prodigious argentic know-how that we end up forgetting because we are first of all gripped by the radiant beauty of nature transcended by his eye, we must also recognize the audacity of his stance: that of a photographer who, like others in his time, could have chosen to engage in a humanist vein where the snapshot and empathy make up the prose of everyday life but who preferred to question the nature of enriching it with a methodical poetry made of slow variations around the same – a lemon, a kiwi, a cherry tree, a mushroom … -, brilliant visual sowing and silver-beaded materials.
It would be wrong to forget what French photography owes to Denis Brihat, to which he voluntarily turned his back to pursue a singular artistic route on the plateau of Claparèdes, so singular that it opened to others a way . He was one of the first to propose that photography make the wall and sees in a big way his desire of artistic freedom, that it frees itself from the book, that it affirms its place on the picture rails alongside the paintings and that it accentuates its rarity, adorning itself with a thousand trappings of sulphuret, iron-vanadium, and gold, to better subjugate us.
It has often been said of him that he lived as a hermit, for having chosen the landscapes of Lubéron, rather than the tumult of Paris; some have found that the internships he organized at home would require to enter photography as one enters religion, but there is no dogmatism in Denis Brihat, let alone grandiloquence, but rather the search for a maieutics that will allow each budding photographer to express his originality.
Denis Brihat is a warm being, of great culture and infinite delicacy that reconciles the subtle and the refined, the frugal and the sumptuous, the formal rigor and the visual lyricism to bring out the extraordinary out of the trivial.
In the exhibition of the BnF, we will (among other) discover this aubergine in majesty, nibbled by a snail, the same one perhaps which in another print has coiled in the hollow of a pear of the orchard , these cut truffles whose convolutions become palpitating vessels, this onion sometimes naked, sometimes clothed, this poppy like an eye open to the world whose iris darts curious pistils, and we will be touched by a pagan grace that allows us to see in these elementary representations a metamorphosed humanism. Thus, each expression of the vegetable and animal kingdom asserts itself as the transposition of different sensitive modalities in which is seen the power of enchantment and wonder of a “natura naturing”.
Héloïse Conésa, curator of the patrimony, in charge of the contemporary photography collection at the BnF