Trans Photographic Press publishes Kind of Color, Guy Le Querrec’s book of color photographs. The publisher Dominique Gaessler presents it as follows:
From Jeune Afrique to the Viva years then to Magnum, in this oceanic work initiated in the sixties made of black and white, Guy Le Querrec practiced color for twenty years. It is to this little-known aspect that this book is devoted. However, we find the same photographic verve and the same virtuoso look at the ordinary and the daily life.
As for the title: « Kind of Color » is an evocation of jazz, so dear to Guy Le Querrec, and a direct allusion to the work of Miles Davis.
He is one of those artists we admire whose work we believe we know so much that we could claim to submit to any recognition test. As in a (blind) competition for the best sommelier, I will gladly feel like I’m unbeatable. Guy Le Querrec is one of those “vintages” who, along with those of his generation, have shaken up the photographic landscape in France since the 1970s. It was at this time, in line with a tradition of reporting, that a handful of thirty-somethings imposed a renewal of the gaze. Alongside Claude Raimond Dityvon, Hervé Gloaguen, François Hers, Raymond Depardon and so many others, they quickly freed themselves from a story and its tutelary figures, in particular by moving away from the strict shores of reportage and information to claim a more subjective photograph that abandons the printed page to conquer the picture rails.
It’s “our” New wave or “our” New novel, it depends.
This story rocked my “entry” into photography, so, when in April 2022, Guy Bourreau spoke to me about the color images of Guy Le Querrec, he piqued my curiosity and opened up the field of a terra incognita.
Appointment made around a selection of photographs, I confess that the encounter with these unpublished images was disconcerting for me. From the outset, I did not fully recognize the photographic “verve” of Guy Le Querrec and I was confused by the colors themselves.
A trip to Redon, to the archives, reassured me: I found there the photographic gesture, the Le Querrec style, the modest motifs and subjects, like the color that accompanies and draws them.
Color for Guy Le Querrec is a double black Bisley column, like a mausoleum in a granite niche in his Breton apartment, isolated from his other archives: an ocean of more than forty thousand black and white contact sheets, in the middle of which he lives. These are Eight drawers of Panodia sleeves, thousands of Kodachromes taken between 1971 and 1990.
A work apart, intermittent.
With Guy Bourreau, who had made a large preselection of images, we worked to tighten up the selection, each with an eye riveted on the eyepiece of the Schneider magnifying glass, the slides pages flashed by.
We were quickly convinced that a book and an exhibition are essential.
In a few days, we agreed on about fifty images that take us from the banks of La Vilaine to those of the Niger, from the streets of Shanghai to the rides of the Foire du Trône.
Make no mistake about it, no exoticism of great reportage will be found in these images, only the simple or ordinary moments of everyday life, gleaned on the sly, establishing also, that this the unknown part of an abundant, singular and immense work to which this book is devoted here.
Trans Photographic Press