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Eric Mistler – Paris / Buenos Aires


“Do not point at with your finger. ”

One can imagine the little Eric in Buenos Aires, reprimanded by his parents, when, curious, astonished or laughing, he pointed out to them the people for their humor or their strangeness. This is actually the first gesture of the photographer.

Eric has continued to show us what life offers him everyday. He does not go on an expedition in search of exceptional events. There is no plan to go to far-off countries to extract a well-hidden truth. He sails home (Argentina remains his childhood territory) carried by the current of his days, naturally and perpetually on the lookout. For it is necessary to be in order to seize at the right moment all these correspondences, these coincidences, these magnetizations, these ephemeral rounds, these smoke and these clouds, these dizzy dances, these acrobatic suspensions, the difficult steps of an old gentleman, the race and the pause, these shadows, pillars, beams, grilles, temporary graphics, fortuitous arrangements, the immanent design, there and invisible for those who do not take a step aside.

When I met Eric, while I was carrying a heavy Leica M, he had already chosen the lightness of a very small Rollei 35. The cameras tell our story. Eric may still be afraid of being scolded by his parents if he is caught photographing! So he draws quickly and furtively his discreet device. No staging, repetition of the gesture for the camera. Eric as a photographer is forgotten in the flow of the present. These are often images taken without the subject’s knowledge, but not stolen. Eric is always admitted where he is, whether passer-by, visitor or friend. His benevolence, a hackneyed word but oh so relevant, allows him to emerge beyond borders, ages, social classes, colors (here black and white, it is at the bottom right of the light, a common denominator to the shapes of the world), everything that brings us together, which makes sense in the anonymity of the crowds, what is played out in the baker’s repeated gesture. These echoed images follow the same score as the project “Playing for Change” where musicians from around the world wearing headphones, with the prowess of technique, play together and live the song “Stand by me”. We find the same thrill of universality, a harmonic note between the intimate and the collective (it is not a coincidence that there are in this book many photographs of individuals demonstrating).

In a general climate of anxiety, incandescence under a leaden sky (literally with Notre-Dame), this act of designating still and always the drive, the circulation, the shimmering of the world obviously refers us to the sharpness of Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson, Depardon, all this so-called humanist photography that we miss today. I am also thinking of the antics of Agnès Varda, the unexpected burst of humor, cleaving the cliche, breaking with the monotony. It is often said that humor in photography extinguishes reverie, closes the meaning. It can also be a celebration. At the bottom in every picture of Eric, it’s a little party. It flourishes there most often as a vital force, burlesque, unconscious and joyful, invigorating for the spectator, these small gifts of the reality that the young Eric amazed and stubborn does not finish to show us.

Foreword by Bruno Podalydès


The book

A mirrored book on two capitals that lookout each other i the eye: Paris and Buenos Aires.

There is in this book all that a photograph can express: beauty, sadness, humor, comic effect, sharing, loneliness … or just the immediate and overwhelming visual force of an image. (Roland Farjon)

Paris, Buenos Aires, two cities, two stories seen through the eye of a photographer, Eric Mistler. Born in Buenos Aires, Eric moved to Paris at the age of thirteen and returned to his hometown only fifty years later.

On each double page, the book shows two photos, one of each city and their inhabitants, two photos that speak and create associations or oppositions. The reader’s imagination and curiosity are stimulated by subtle and surprising associations that the author himself might not have seen.

Each double page tells a story and the succession of pages shows a journey in the journey.

Paris – Buenos Aires is driven by Eric’s personal story, a story of double culture and dual identity.

The photos build bridges between these two cities and their inhabitants, photographed by Eric with passion and emotion.

The photos are preceded by texts written by Bruno Podalydes, Jean Louis Buchet and Eric Mistler

128 pages, 115 black and white photos
Format: 29 x 24
Published by Kerber Velrag


“Paris Buenos Aires”,
Galerie Hélène Nougaro
17, rue du Petit Pont
75005 Paris

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