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Fontaine Obscure : Durance by Henri Kartmann


It all starts with the Durance, this so capricious beautiful Provençal river, beneficial for its water supply to the arid lands of sunny Provence. This river, sometimes so tumultuous and dangerous, is often found in a peaceful flow at the limit of aridity.

Two men stroll along the banks, even in the bed, of the hypnotic water of their childhood. One is an internationally known writer: Jean Giono. The other is the great documentary photographer, borderline visual artist, lover of authentic nature: Henri Kartmann.

The two creators do not walk along the edge of the river in the same era; but who cares about the time lag since the stream is immutable, in spite of the permanent changes of its trail. The idea of bringing together literary excerpts from Jean Giono with pictures of the other can be judicious as long as the photography is not a graphic illustration of the text. the idea works the other way as long as the text are not twisted to explain and justify the images. Every man for himself and the Durance for all. The bet is audacious with these two talented viewers.

On the photography side, it’s black and white, certainly not because it’s fashionable, with Henri and his cameras, we risk nothing of the sort. It’s monochrome, because that’s how it is, it’s his choice. Not just any black and white? We all know that managing greens reduced to scales of gray is not easy. So, you think in multiple landscapes, with reflections, is reserved for tenors! Don’t worry, the material is present in its entirety, no polluting burns in the whites, no clogged blacks. The counterbalance of the grays in the reflections is stunning. Each contrast imposes volume gradations while emphasizing millimetric compositions with marked graphics.

It’s good, and it’s becoming so rare, to see good photographs. Within a reasonable radius of Aix-en-Provence, do not hesitate to come and meditate in front of the sure values ​​of Henri and as a bonus let yourself be carried away by the related quotes from Jean.

Thierry Maindrault


September 06 to September 30, 2023
Fontaine Obscure
24 avenue Henri Poncet
13100 Aix en Provence

free entrance
Tuesday to Friday from 02:00 pm until 06:00 pm
Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 am.

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