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Usimages 2021 : Société Créations artistiques Heurtier


The selection of photographs presented favors a look around the very functionalist universe of offices of the 1970s, which links the human presence to the architecture of these spaces as an ode to modernity.

Bernard Heurtier (1930-2019), accountant by profession, passionate about photography and aviation, in 1961 founded the Société Créations artistiques Heurtier, whose laboratory was located in Rennes, rue Saint-Hélier. The purpose of this company was for “industrial, aerial, decorative and advertising photography in BW and color”.

During the first years, he devoted himself exclusively to industrial photography. The work was carried out on order. Brittany went through a period of great economic change in the 1960s and 1970s. The territory is covered with large industrial sites (Rance dam, hospitals, high schools, Citroën factory, supermarkets, swimming pools, etc.) and the company crisscrossed the entire region and bore witness to this upheaval.

The company employed up to 6 photographers, referred to in their employment contract as “industrial photo printer operator”, some of whom specialize in aerial views. The majority of the images produced were taken using 13×18 cm large format cameras, handled with rigor by the company’s photographers.

After obtaining his pilot’s license, Bernard Heurtier acquired a Cessna 177 Cardinal aircraft, hired a pilot and a mechanic and created Heurtier Aviation. He was thus developing the second part of his business, offering his aerial views to potential clients.

In 1976, he decided to separate from the industrial sector, to keep only aerial photography. One of his photographers, Michel Bernard, bought this part and founded the company Photo Industrielle Bernard. The company filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s, leaving nearly 27,000 photographs acquired and kept by the Musée de Bretagne.

Laurence Prod’homme, heritage curator, December 2020

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