On the occasion of the retrospective devoted to Philippe Schuller until October 1, the Lyon Municipal Archives offer, in parallel with his photographs, another sensitive entry into the work of the photographer. Five short videos produced by film and audiovisual students explore, through different prisms, the eye, the technique and the universe of this complete artist.
Dissecting each detail or taking a step back on the work, soaking up the gaze of the models he photographed or questioning that of the spectators… The five pairs of students in the Master 1 “Cinema and Audiovisual” program at the Université Lumière Lyon 2, set out to explore a singular angle in order to offer a new point of view on the work of Philippe Schuller. In two or three minutes, they offer us short clips that make us discover his photographic vision and the role of the photographer, in the intimacy of his studio and even inside his images. With gentleness and accuracy, they question in turn the portrait, the technique, the work of editing and selection, the microcosm that gravitates around the photographer and the questions of eye, interpretation, evocation of photographs.
In “Portrait d’un portraitiste”, Isabelle Bernoux and Liliia Safiullina help us understand the choices of frame, colors, and decor that guide Philippe Schuller in his portraits, which are said to be “not sad, but a little nostalgic”. Guided by his soft and laughing voice until he lends himself to the game of self-portraiture, we understand the necessity of the gaze in his work and we listen to him advising everyone “not to be afraid. To take lots of pictures”.
This multitude of shots is illustrated in “A moment of contact” by Li Blache-Chauvet and Reihaneh Jami: a bubble that transports us into the work of selection, choice, the eye riveted on the contact sheet. “The first one was the right one. Sometimes it’s the last one, after having done a lot of research. With humor he takes us into this work made of red notes, underlined clichés, making us feel the complexity of making the choice, of entrusting one’s work to others, of mourning images that one thought were good.
Images that Philippe Schuller works on by getting closer, to come back to the essential, to be in the essence of a moment that may appear to be without interest. This is what is poetically shown in “L’essentiel dans la banalité” by Monica Comparelli and Galane Legal, which explores research in black and white, “when the subject dominates”. We understand the desire to get as close as possible to the emotion, these moments of truth, even if it means poor framing, even if it means not taking aim, to reveal the strength of a moment.
And in “Déployer l’image” by Salomé Kerrand and Jules Sanchez, we switch to the other side to discover the eyes of four spectators who give themselves over to very personal interpretations of two of the photographer’s shots before Philippe Schuller himself reveals the real context of these shots. A video that shows the evocative power of photography.
And this is also what Adrien Forray and Kevin Sigaut’s “Rêverie” invites us to do. It takes us into a story imagined from the photographer’s shots before inviting us to do the same by immersing ourselves in a series where water guides us and where each of us can interpret the work as we see fit.
A series of sensitive videos, which raise the question of the gaze and invite us to take the time to understand, to enter in detail into the photos, to succeed in really appropriating them.
Philippe Schuller is distributed and represented by La Maison de Photographes Signatures.
For more information
Philippe Schuller, Photographs
An exhibition curated by the artist, Marie Maniga and Mourad Laangry
At the Lyon Municipal Archives
From March 4th to October 1st 2022
Website of the Archives Municipales de Lyon