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Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson : Sergio Larrain


The Fondation HCB  presents London, a new selection of photographs by Sergio Larrain (1931-2012) enlarged by the author himself.

During the winter of 1958-1959, the Chilean photographer traveled to the British capital and produced a set of photographs in which, sensitive to the scenes and lights he encountered, his imagination went beyond the subject and the frame of the image.

In London, Sergio Larrain made his first major essay during the four months of his residency, thanks to a scholarship from the British Council. If the photographs in this series were rarely reproduced in the press of the time, it was nevertheless during this trip that Sergio Larrain made a stop in Paris and met there Henri Cartier-Bresson, which allowed him to join the Magnum Photos agency.

The photographer claims to have felt the end of the “capital of an ancient and vast colonial empire”, evidenced by the melancholy and the many shades of gray in his photographs. The ghostly characters captured in the heart of the night, the fog and the cold London give the images of Sergio Larrain a dreamlike dimension specific to his work. In London as in Chile, he manages to capture the essence of the subjects he photographs in an almost mystical setting.



Agnès Sire, Artistic Director


“It is within myself that I look for the photographs, when, my camera in hand, I take a look outside. I can materialize this world of ghosts when I encounter something that resonates with me. ”

Sergio Larrain, El rectangulo en la mano, Cadernos brasileiros, May 1963



Sergio Larrain was born in 1931 in Santiago de Chile.

In 1949, he went to study in the United States but finally gave up in 1951 to devote himself to photography. He traveled in particular across Europe and the Middle East, then started a substantial work in Santiago and Valparaiso.

On the occasion of a scholarship from the British Council in London, he contacted Magnum Photos which entrusted him with a large number of reportages for newspapers. His work is also in the collections of MoMA in New York. He gradually stopped working for the press and finally decided to live in the countryside to practice meditation and drawing until his death in 2012 in Ovalle, Chile.



Sergio Larrain: London

September 8 / October 18, 2020

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson

79 rue des Archives

75003 Paris



The exhibition is accompanied by the book London, 1959, published by Atelier EXB.


18.5 x 24.5 cm

95 photographs, 176 pages

Book published in French and Spanish

Texts by Agnès Sire and Robert Bolaño

€ 39

ISBN: 978-2-36511-273-4


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