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The Questionnaire : Anne Garde by Carole Schmitz


Anne Garde : Travelling Photographer

After studying art history at the Ecole du Louvre and earning a master’s degree in sociology at the Sorbonne, Anne Garde decided to devote herself to “what the eye doesn’t see”, and turned to photography to express herself. Her passion for travel led her to travel back and forth between India and the Landes region, inspiring her to produce several books.

Very early on in her career as an artist, she was drawn to architectural photography.

particularly interested in industrial sites and places of memory. These were to inspire her innovative visual work. She likes to set the scene, to propose photographed tales, so that her images emanate the magic of light and color, which like make-up embellish places whose modernity belongs to the past.

“I seek to illuminate what has remained in the shadows. The shadow of memory, the shadow of the repressed, the shadow of history…”. – Anne Garde

Deeply concerned by the lifestyles and cultures she discovers – but also their oppressions, human exploitation, violence and war – her work captures both the politics and the aesthetics of these societies. Seeing, not looking, is her motto. Her images, moreover, are fascinating and captivating beyond the realism they convey.

At the same time, Anne works for international magazines, for the major fashion houses and for a number of other companies.

She also works for luxury goods companies, publishing houses and advertising agencies.

But for now, however, we’d like to ask her a few questions… about photography !


Website :

Instagram : ann.garde


What was your first photographic breakthrough?

Anne Garde: When my older brother, then a soldier in Algeria, took me on strange “holidays” with friends during the war, I was 11 years old… my mom had given me a Brownie Flash, and I still have it…! I saw the war up close, my life as a photographer began, and what triggered my passion was what followed: the family I was staying with asked me to take some photos, they liked them very much, and asked me for the negatives to have them printed. The post office lost them, and it was this loss that triggered my irreversible passion for photography.

© Anne Garde


The man or woman in the picture who inspires you?

Anne Garde: She’s more a woman of letters, but she’s also created bewitching images. It’s undoubtedly Marguerite Duras, whose intelligence and singular thinking I admire. I love her films, India Song being the one that touches me the most.


What image would you have liked to have made?

Anne Garde: I was lucky enough to meet Satyagit Ray in Calcutta on my first trip to India. I was a young photographer, and this immense man in every sense of the word made such an impression on me that I couldn’t photograph him. He wrote me a letter of recommendation in Bengali that I treasure.

© Anne Garde


Which one moved you the most?

Anne Garde: I love the melancholy polaroids by Andrei Tarkovski, who is also one of my masters. My cult film is Stalker,  which came out at the same time as I was creating my first installations in the Sub Marine base in Bordeaux. This coincidence confirmed my interest in and love for Tarkovsky’s films.

BSM, 1986 © Anne Garde


Which one made you angry?

 Anne Garde: There are a lot of them, especially today! I don’t dwell on toxic images.


A key image in your personal pantheon?

Anne Garde: My grandfather Albert Neveu, a lithographer who, as legend has it, designed fans for Sarah Bernhardt. I never knew him, but he was handsome and elegant…

Albert Neveu – lithographer


Calcutta-Marble Palace, 1983 © Anne Garde


My first images of Calcutta I was fortunate enough to be published in Nicole Wisniak’s cult magazine « Egoiste ».

These images also triggered my first book on India, “Salon Indien”, published by Hazan and in the US and UK.

However, sometimes the images that stay with you the most are the ones you didn’t get to make…!

When I first arrived in Delhi, I’ll never forget the sound from the airport ceiling, which was a field of fans whose blades were almost touching each other, all whirling together in a totally unreal atmosphere, somewhere between a horror film and a Bunuel-style surrealist movie.

Then it was up Raj Path to the buildings designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect of the Rashtrapati Bawan, the Government Palace that stands out at the end of the 3 km avenue behind the low Raisina hill in Francis Wacziarg who was our guide black Ambassador. This long, slow-motion tracking shot at the torrid, white hour of midday triggered the first and definitive rapture that has never faded.


A photographic memory from your childhood?

Anne Garde: A photo of my father before I was born in Stalag n°7, where he spent 5 years in this concentration camp during the war.


With no budget limit, what work of art would you dream of acquiring?

Anne Garde: A large painting by Ana Eva Bergman in gold or silver leaf.


In your opinion, what is the most important quality needed to be a good photographer?

Anne Garde: I often say that I photograph with my eyes closed, because it’s the inner look that makes a photograph so powerful.


What, if any, is the secret of the perfect image?

Anne Garde: There’s no such thing as a perfect image. What’s beautiful is precisely a flaw, a little detail that’s missed, that suddenly brings out in the image the search for the golden ratio, or the punctum as Roland Barthes, who wrote some of the most beautiful pages on photography, calls it.


Who would you like to photograph?

Anne Garde: A Persian princess who lived in Pakistan and of whom I have no news…


Which photographer would you like to have your portrait taken by?

Anne Garde: Like many photographers, I hate being photographed…but I would have liked Robert Mapplethorpe, whose 1983 portrait of Kathy Acker I love.

© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation


An essential photo book?

Anne Garde: I’ve loved Saul Leiter for a long time, and now he’s going to become a new fashionable “product”, but I’ve been looking at his photos, which have enchanted me since the 80s, my first trip to NY.


What was your childhood camera?

Anne Garde: A Brownie Flash that I’ve treasured ever since.


The one you use today?

Anne Garde: The Hasselblad, the most beautiful of all medium-format cameras, or the Mamiya 7, when it’s not the 4X5-inch view camera! I only want to photograph in medium or large format. As for digital, I now use the latest IPhone with 3 lenses, including a wide-angle lens, because the result is the same as with a heavy camera. You can make a one-meter print! Tomorrow, this will be the only tool left… digital photography.

I’m a film photographer and I don’t use digital for my artistic productions.


What’s your favorite drug?

Anne Garde: Travelling to countries I love.


What’s the best way for you to disconnect?

Anne Garde: Swim to the Boucalot in the Port Vieux in Biarritz, merge with Oceano, the only God I worship…!


What is your personal relationship with images?

Anne Garde: Marguerite Duras favored words over images, and she was certainly right, because today images have been and will continue to be totally hijacked by electronics. It can be made to say anything and everything.

What I think is that the image is sacred, like an icon.

Precisely the image that comes from analog capture on a chemical support, when Nicéphore Niepce coated Judean bitumen on a silver plate and invented photography. I won’t go into the details, but as you can see, the origins of photography flirt with mystery.


What’s your greatest quality?

Anne Garde: Perseverance, when I believe in what I do!


Your latest folly?

Anne Garde: Flying to India after a “Frankenstein” operation to repair a thrombosis of the femoral artery caused by the Pfizer vaccine!


An image to illustrate a new banknote?

Anne Garde: A beautiful predatory animal like the cheetah…!


What job would you rather not have?

Anne Garde: Collaborator, finance official


And if you hadn’t become a photographer?

Anne Garde: I don’t know, there’s no option. Images have always been my passion!


Your greatest professional extravagance?

Anne Garde: We were lucky enough to meet Jean Louis Dumas, President of Hermès and creator of the Birkin bag, who believed in our project on the Silk Roads and allowed us to unwind a Hermès silk thread, which I chose to be red, all along these routes, some of which we can no longer even travel today: Central Asia, Xinjiang, Northern India…. A project for peace and encounters between peoples, which gave rise to a book “Sur les Routes de la Soie-Albin Michel” and an international exhibition.


In your opinion, what are the bridges between photography and art photography?

Anne Garde: The photography generated by the system and the various businesses that lead people to practice is just digital pollution that heats up the data centers!

Art photography and artists who have dedicated their lives to the medium are in a different world.

An artist, whatever his practice, is someone who devotes his life to his work, and who often struggles to justify it and make it known, thus sharing it.


Which city, country or culture do you dream of discovering?

Anne Garde: Northern countries, where life is hard. I don’t feel close to the idleness of the Mediterranean…


The place you never tire of?

Anne Garde: India, immense and mysterious.


Your biggest regret?

Anne Garde: I have no regrets. There’s no point, I just try to move on.


In terms of social networks, are you more into Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat, and why?

Anne Garde: Inevitably, today we have to live with it, but I prefer the way things used to be,  unplanned meeting at the café, the market, the museum or anywhere else…SN are manipulated by the great manipulators, so, of course, I publish mainly for distant friends and because we no longer know how to communicate otherwise, but I disapprove of this system that tends to destroy humanity.


What have digital technology and smartphones taken away from or brought to photography?

Anne Garde: It’s a subject that deserves more than two lines. But suffice it to say that digital photography is about destroying memory.

If it hadn’t been for film, we’d still be saying that the images of Lee Miller and many others couldn’t have proved that the Nazi death camps existed.

Film is irrefutable proof, but digital won’t be!


Color or B&W?

Anne Garde: I like both, so why limit yourself to a single field? Greenaway, whose “Murder in an English Garden” I adore, skilfully discussed his master Eisenstein’s transition from black and white to color.


Daylight or artificial light?

Anne Garde: I love daylight, and I can sometimes teleport it to brighten up a dark place…


Does your heart lean more towards film or digital?

Anne Garde: Definitely, I’ll always defend film, which is a magician’s invention!


Which city do you think is the most photogenic?

Anne Garde: Bordeaux at night, as I photographed it in « Bordeaux la Lune », my first book…


If God exists, when you get to heaven, would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?

Anne Garde: I don’t believe in God.


If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?

Anne Garde: Not too many people, I hate banquets! Refined friends with whom I’d love to chat… unfortunately, some of them have already left the table for good!


Which image represents the current state of the world for you?

Anne Garde: I don’t know, I don’t want to promote the current state of the world, because it’s more ugly than beautiful. There are good photographers for that, like Martin Parr, who became ultra-famous for showing today’s pathetic humanity…


What’s missing in today’s world?

Anne Garde: A love of Beauty and Loyalty, a chivalric spirit…

I like to say that, with my photography, I like to shock people with Beauty!


If you had to start all over again?

Anne Garde: I love my life, and I could see myself redoing certain routes, to which I would add a few precious encounters that are still to be made, while there’s still time!


Any last words?

Anne Garde: Thank you for all your questions. So, I’m off.

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