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La Rochelle : Richard Dumas : In Three Pauses


No less than three cultural places in the city of the three towers, La Rochelle, have joined forces to receive the photographer’s numerous images: Carré Amelot, La Sirène, the city’s current music hall as well as the FEMA, international film festival.

Since 1991, Richard Dumas has worked mainly for daily newspapers and magazines, although it is not possible to qualify him as a press photographer. Whether in the world of cinema – for faces, he specifies – or music, his first passion, his compositions, mainly square and black and white, seem in fact detached from current affairs hungry for illustrative images and produced in haste, used most of the time as simple illustrations of an article. This admirer of Helmut Newton tells us “Photographers often talk about their work in the form of series, I prefer the word suites” he who immortalized, almost literally, Alain Bashung in the Bois de Boulogne, so much did the singer resemble his own wax statue.
The portraits of a David Lynch or a Patti Smith are not only seen as a director or a singer in promotion, but as people. Moreover, if these series often allow us to see famous people, the distance due to celebrity which can usually be established in these cases disappears. As if the model understood the intention of the photographer, and therefore became closer. No poses either, but a mutual respect which encourages trust. By observing his Godard with a cigar, we do not see so much a filmmaker but rather a man who tries to disappear behind the screen of his smoke, in his chiaroscuro and his fragile presence.

Like many other photographers working on film, his practice seems to be called into question with each new session; for Dumas, doubt always remains present, and as for the result, he prefers to discover what he succeeded rather than confirming what he sought to do.\ What we must understand is that these portraits which are supposed to serve, basically, as communication for the press services or promotion for an artist or a film, can very well have their own lives outside of this circuit. , and find themselves on the walls of galleries or festivals. This is undoubtedly due to the author-photographer’s demands regarding the quality of the light, often daylight, which he strives to capture with classic photography techniques. He also knows how to leave space when he helps create a setting for his subject, or squeeze the latter closer, to capture a suspended moment.

Jean-Jacques Ader


EN TROIS PAUSES, Exhibitions by Richard Dumas in La Rochelle, at Carré Amelot “Suite (extracts)”, from April 30th to June 28th, 2024, meeting with the artist on April 30th at 7:30 p.m.; at La Sirène, “Portraits Rock” current music scene, from May 3rd to July 18th, meeting on May 3rd at 7 p.m.; and during the 52nd FEMA, International Film Festival “Ciné portraits”, at the Tour de la Lanterne from June 28th to July 18th. Information:

At the same time, La Galerie Éphémère will present the audiovisual work of Richard Dumas and Amaury Voslion from June 28th to July 7th (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

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