Still Lifes 1948-1960 by Jean-Pierre Sudre
Having decided in 1948 to become a photographer, the opportunity suddenly arose to take my first images with the announcement of the imminent destruction of the woods of my youth.
As for family portraits, immortalizing loved ones, my approach hoped to keep forever what my memory had let out in puffs of humus, rustling leaves and chiaroscuro.
Using my walnut large format camera 13x18cm of the Frères Lorillon, and Guilleminot plates So here I was on an old family bike traveling through paths and undergrowth in search of my emotions of yesteryear.
This marvelous possibility of expression brought to me by Photography, its unique power to capture everything with diabolical precision then suggested that I introduce it silently and in parallel into a world that I really loved, that of objects in order to elucidate their silent presences.
Compared to the plant world where Nature has prepared everything for you – whether you like it or not – the genre of Still Life that I wanted to approach seemed very exciting for the freedom to invent everything and to be for each element of the composition its own Director; but in return what an infernal difficulty to find the right place for the main object.
Through countless trials, I had decided to accept only daylight, the only one that set the slightest object vibrating, which made the shadows illuminate and the reflections sparkle.
Alas, the one that came from my window left the needle in my cell totally indifferent to the slightest measure…
Generally twenty minutes of exposure turned out to be a minimum to record the maximum of values, those which make – later – “sing the grays” and enrich the blacks and whites.
And during this time, I had the immense advantage of participating in the magic of photographic recording on the emulsion of the 13x18cm plate…
I then became the blind spectator of the transfiguration of my entire staging into a latent image that was gradually forming, thus accumulating in millions of sensitive crystals, my most intimate thoughts and emotions of the moment…
Jean-Pierre Sudre, Lacoste June 1990
Childhood Memories by Fanny Sudre-Bernard
I was 6 or 7 years old, we lived in Paris, and I remember that my father took me to discover the still lifes of the Flemish primitives in the Louvre Museum, quite deserted at that time.
He liked to see and review these “Silent Lives” as he called them.
The play of light and the arrangement of objects in these remarkable works that nourished him for his future creations.
On other Sundays or short vacations, we went as a family to the woods of his youth near Paris to discover small things in nature, pine cones, small leaves, flowers, or on the Normandy beaches to look for shells at low tide, these little nothings that he then magnified in image.
In our Parisian apartment, some days when I came home from school, my brother Dominique and I couldn’t go into the dining room, my father was working and it could last several days, above all you could not touch anything.
He installed on the wooden table, these Sunday harvests or objects from the house, moved them in order to obtain what he wanted, we also waited and took our meals on the kitchen table.
In Provence, he created, with delicacy and poetry, images combining his matériographies and the plants he picked around his house.
Jean-Pierre Sudre : natures immarcescibles
June 9 to 26, 2022
quand les fleurs nous sauvent
5 rue Jacques Callot
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day except Monday