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Etienne Renzo : China in 1975


Here we go back half a century. Young photographer, Etienne Renzo was the Marseille correspondent of a nascent, left-wing protest newspaper, directed by Jean Paul Sartre: Libération. Curious about everything, he was approached by a group of doctors. The latter are going to the People’s Republic of China to learn, on a study trip, about the use of acupuncture as an anesthetic during surgical operations. Etienne embarks with these curious people in search of new medical alternatives. He produced several reportages on this fascinating subject in more than one way.

But, like any photographer, especially in the context of the times, he freed himself from his guides  to wander around a little and bring back a few photos, outside of the medical route.

In 1975, the cultural revolution was running out of steam, the great Helmsman was the most read author in the world, after the Bible, for his thoughts which overwhelmed the planet. On ideologically cleansed bases, the country was taking the big turn. that changed the country  in less than half a century.

Etienne’s photographs show us, in every detail, the basis of the great leap. His black and white photographs, although made with somewhat rough equipment, perfectly recreate the atmosphere. They immerse us, more than the environment, in the atmosphere and conditions of the shooting. Every detail in each image takes us into a real reflection. Totally imbued with the context rendered by the photographs, we find ourselves actors more than observers.

For this testimony, time does not matter, it was yesterday, it is today, it will be tomorrow. Etienne Renzo invites us with his photographs into the History of Men.

Thierry Maindrault

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