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Best Of 2021 : Lumière des Roses Gallery : Faces of the working class


The Lumière des Roses Gallery in Montreuil exhibits an exceptional collection of photographs gathered by the duo at the head of the place. Marion and Philippe Jacquier have collected over the past fifteen years touching images that show the common people who worked in factories at the dawn of the 20th century.

The black face of a “galibot” – nickname for the young laborers who once went down in the coal mines – these starving children portrayed in Germinal, these hard-staring foremen who strained themselves on endless working chains … The photographs gathered by Marion and Philippe Jacquier show how much these beings were exposed to the monsters of yesteryear machinery, to unfriendly bosses, as “good enough to do everything”,  “cheap brick” to use the words from a poem from Aragon.

But all of them have an attitude which gives off something strong, interesting or disturbing and which reminds us of the splendor of a face, this “place of the body where the personality is lodged, this most unique and irreplaceable part of the body. “As the two founders of the gallery write and who add further on:” The worker bears the marks of work on his face, but at the same time his face, by its singularity and its mystery, ceaselessly shy away from those. who wants to reduce him to an object. ”

In fact, as they explain in the presentation text of the exhibition, the workers were first photographed for the sole purpose of promoting the factory, to be used to advertise as decided by the management. They probably did not have access to these images afterwards and were certainly not very autonomous in their poses. It was not until the end of the first half of the twentieth century that the use of photography became more democratic and that some workers themselves made images, sometimes of their immediate environment, sometimes of strikes in which they participated, especially with the rise of the Front populaire.

Small people

Exhibiting these images today resonates like a rehabilitation through history where once despised beings find a form of recognition. It is in particular the work of the Lumière des Roses Gallery which scans the archives of the world to find singular photographs, with evanescent and forgotten poetry, and to tell about universes of the past which have been underestimated by the official narrative. As was the case during the Rencontres de la photographie in Arles in 2019 where Marion and Philippe Jacquier designed an exhibition dedicated to the drifters, the small people of Paris driven out by rising rental prices and forced to live on the fringes of the capital in unsanitary slums .

In the face of time, in the light of the past century, only the essential remains: the singularity of each expression that says something profound about man. As Baptiste mimics it in the film Les Enfants du Paradis, about the most destitute who can only afford the seats way up in the theater, spectators furthest from the stage: “They are very small, but they have many big dreams ”.

Jean-Baptiste Gauvin


Visages du monde ouvrier

photographs 1880-1940

Exhibition from October 13, 2021 to January 29, 2022

Opening on the weekend October 9-10, 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Galerie Lumière des Roses

12-14 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 93100 Montreuil

Tel 01 48 70 02 02 – mob 06 11 49 52 27

from Wednesday to Saturday 2 pm-7pm




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