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Galerie ARGENTIC : Roger Schall : A Photographer’s Life


Roger Schall is a drummer in a Jazz orchestra. Photography ? He learned it from his father Émile Schall, a photographer in Paris and Les Sables d´Olonne. In 1929, he sold his drum kit to buy a revolutionary camera, the Leica and its new 35mm format. With it, he will travel across France and bring back more than 5,000 photos. He found what he was made for and created the Studio Schall in 1931 …

The 1930s were a pivotal period for photography, which passed from the stage of simple document to that of creation. Photographers experimented with new shooting angles, foreshortening effects, unusual perspectives and introduced a new relationship to the subject. All this was  made possible by the technology progress and the appearance in 1925 of the Leica, then in 1929 of the Rolleiflex.

Roger Schall is first and foremost a photo reporter, which allows him both to be independent and to satisfy his immense curiosity. He passionately documented war, political demonstrations, work, leisure or fashion in French society for more than twenty years. From the beginning of the 1930s, he covered several international and spectacular events such as: the Nuremberg Congress, the Radical Congress of Marseille or the maiden voyage of the Ocean Liner Normandie.

In 1934, Michel de Brunhoff introduced him to the world of fashion and to the Parisian high society. He then became a social photographer, produced numerous portfolios for Vogue, he photographed Coco Chanel and the celebrities of the time. But unlike most of his colleagues, he photographed his models in their privacy or outdoors and seeked spontaneity.

The strength of Roger Schall’s images comes from the alliance between the dynamism of the framing, the high technical quality of his shots and the romantic nostalgia for a world that will disappear. He always looked at reality with respect, kindness and tenderness.

At the end of the war, Roger Schall gradually abandoned international reporting to devote himself to advertising commissions and industrial reporting. This era marks the end of a period of intense creativity that started in the 1920s. He gave up photography in 1967 and devoted himself to painting and the management of his archives which included nearly 100,000 images.

Built with his son Jean-Frédéric Schall and in partnership with the fotofever salon and the DUPON-PHIDAP laboratory, this exhibition presents around a hundred silver prints, a large part of which is devoted to 35mm images discovered in his archives in the form of negatives, which had never been printed or published and had been sleeping in their boxes for almost 90 years…


Roger Schall (1904-1995) : Une vie de photographe

Until January 2, 2021


43 rue Daubenton 75005 Paris


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