Actor and photographer Vincent Perez exhibits for the first time in his native Switzerland at the Museum of Photography in Vevey, until January 26, 2020.
We do not necessarily know, Vincent Perez first began to study to become a photographer. Two years of photography class at the Professional Center in Vevey and then as an assistant to a portrait photographer in Lausanne, rue du petit chêne, a studio still in business today specialized in ID pictures.
This is where the apprentice photographer Vincent saw hundreds of faces of the city appear before his eyes. He spent his time in the laboratory as an assistant to print and retouch and finally to cut the ID photos, tedious work, he confessed, but a good training to the point that he always keeps in memory this approach to photography and discover peopleat an angle to capture their expressions.
But the readings of a certain Konstantin Stanislavsky, comedian and Russian director at the age of 15, will make him give up his studies as a photographer and make him turn to the profession of comedian.
But in recent years, at 55 and discreetly, Vincent Perez returned to photography. After having exhibited his photographs in France, in Russia, he returns today to his native country and decides to exhibit in Vevey, at the Museum of the Camera, in the very heart of his early days as a sculptor of light.
His exhibition is titled Identities, what’s more logical when we know now his first visceral commitment to photography.
My meeting with him this Thursday, November 21, 2019 in Vevey, during the opening of his exhibition will be an opportunity to ask him how he lives today digital photography? and does he miss the film? Vincent answered with a lot of thought and clarification. He told me:
“I always need to go back to film with my Leica, I need this feeling, it’s as if I found the fundamentals of photography.
Now, I have a bit of trouble with digital, but with the Pentax 645 ( of which he is the ambassador) it’s as if I had found a tool that suited me digitally. Vincent then refers to the humanist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson “To photograph is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart”.
“That’s what I look for in photography, the little pinch at a given moment, that’s what makes me live, puts me in joy, touches me !. It’s in everything I do in my writing, when there’s this: it’s amazing! in the acting too. Whereas when we go looking for the concept we are accompanied, it’s something else. Today with this digital camera I do very few pictures, I do them quickly enough, I do one or two shots and then I hides my camera, I put it in my back, I do not want it to exist too much between us, often I also have a ring flash and oddly it hides the camera….
He is today anchored in photography, Vincent Perez thinks of his next film as a director, and he says: “there is for me a strong link between photography and cinema”.
The portraits exhibited at the Museum of the Vevey Camera came from his last exhibition at the European House of Photography in Paris in 2017. Never before has Vincent Perez exhibited his photographs in his home Switzerland.
Vincent Perez excels in the portrait genre. He works in natural light or with a ring flash, attentive to details and colors. His images show an attentive eye to others, regardless of class or status. They are expressive, simple and direct portraits. The photographer is concerned with everything that can constitute an identity: traits, looks, attitudes, clothes, accessories, the relationship of a body with the space around it. The selection of photographs accompanies a presentation of the history of 100 years of PENTAX.
All these portraits testify to a long work of approach by the author and his benevolent eyes in particular for a community in the district of Barbès in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a community adepte of “Sapologie”, a style of life, an art of loving oneself and a clothing movement with codes. Add to this the black and white and color portraits taken during his travels in Russia.
The prints are displayed in large format on the fourth floor of the museum, and the exhibition is completed in a projection room and all the portraits made by Vincent Pérez are projected on a big screen.
His photography book “A trip to Russia”, with texts by the writer Olivier Rolin, was published in 2017 by the publisher Delpire.
Vincent Perez “identités”
November 7, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Musée suisse de l’appareil photographique
Grande Place 99, 1800 VEVEY Suisse