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Françoise Chadaillac : La Reine de la patate ou Les cantines du détour


Written by Françoise Chadaillac.

At the end of August 2020, the book “The Queen of the Potato or The cantines of the detour” published by Editions Loco, will finally be available in bookstores.

Yes, it took 40 years for this work to finally see the light of day, since I took these photos at the very beginning of the 1980s in Quebec. In black & white. With an acute and demanding awareness of the relationships and tensions between the darkest areas and the lightest areas. This, with the sole aim of restoring the atmospheres and sensations of the moment. Because photography is for me above all a question of sensations and emotions that only light gives me, which transforms and sublimates the most trivial and the most banal of objects.

Why all this time?

First of all, perhaps this subject, absolutely insignificant for France in the 1980s, meets with a more obvious echo nowadays and does it happily coinciding with the new phenomenon of “food trucks” which is emerging. multiplying in France in cities and around industrial zones.

But above all thanks to the evolution of the collective gaze that my way of photographing, in those years, disconcerted; as I had noticed when I was showing my series of street portraits at the very beginning of the 70s. I was then pointed out that my images lacked “instantaneity” – synonymous with “natural” – since people knew they were photographed . How could they not know when I tried to catch their gaze, or when they saw me moving around with an Asahi Pentax 6×7 weighed down with a tripod? Yes, they knew they were being photographed, but were never “staged”.

Anyway, for me, a photo is always a moment, a unique moment. The reproach, thinly veiled, was unnecessary. My way of photographing corresponded to my slow pace, and my need to immerse myself in the spirit of places, people and their actions. I often waited for the right moment when the image suited me. And to rejoice in the “little miracles”, when the image I had “anticipated” came to fruition. It could be the place of characters in a scene, or an expression, an attitude, when it was a portrait. I do not rush the event, nor divert it to my advantage, but adapt myself to keep the integrity of an emotion.

This way of photographing has not left me.

Even today, I prefer to “collect” images, rather than stage or provoke them. Just as I collected the lyrics that open each sequence or each series of photos in the book.

40 years have passed, and although photography has this magical function of retaining and restoring the past, it cannot be reduced to this function alone, nor be a nostalgic exhumation of a world in the process of being erased. , or already deleted.

It also forces you to stop, to take the time. I can still hear the beautiful and premonitory words of a booth owner: “Life pushes you, but it is threatened, because you take more time to stop. Life goes well fast enough, why go faster than it? … ”

The publication of this book of photographs and texts, which allows me today to share my emotions and my modest outlook on the world with a greater number of people, is a small – very small – victory over time, but a great revenge. about discouragement.

So who could complain? And what better praise for slowness?

Françoise Chadaillac on July 11, 2020




Françoise Chadaillac was born in China in 1949. Initiated to photography

through her stepfather, a man of images and culture, she went to California

in 1972, and enrolled in the Berkeley University Photo Studio, a true

nursery of talented photographers. After nearly 40 years

in practice, she says that to date, she has not found a way

no tool more suited to her personality and her purpose than the photographic device

to testify in an aesthetic, moving and direct way, of the ordinary human condition.




ou les Cantines du détour

Photographs and texts: Françoise Chadaillac

> Public price: 38 euros

> Publication: August 20, 2020

> ean 13: 9782843140211

> 27 x 24 cm

> 120 pages,

> around 55 reproductions in NB,

> binding: hardcover, canvas

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