Between 1950 and 1960, Michel Butor, author of a substantial body of literary work, had a period of intense photographic activity, which long remained unpublished and unknown. The recent publication by Delpire Editions fills this gap, offering readers a book of images, which, in an age of black-and-white, filter matter and sunlight.
Taken in Paris, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, and the United States, these photographs linger on landmarks as well as on details of everyday existence, capturing the ephemeral, the transitory, and recording the time of the secret places. Butor calls these spaces of poetry, in which he invents images the way he manipulates words, the genius loci.
Introduced by Mireille Calle-Gruber—writer, professor at the Sorbonne, and friend of Michel Butor, as well as editor of his Complete Works—Au Temps du noir et blanc juxtaposes photographs and writings. The volume thus invites readers to revisit this protean oeuvre through Butor’s eyes and, at the end, delve into notes and reflections on photography by a writer who, his whole life, never stopped writing with a “viewfinder in his head.”
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