It is rare to feel so pregnant, the human soul in a photographic work. And yet, the work in question does not have any human presence!
When Wright Morris (1910-1998) went into photography, he was already a scholarly writer, and soon became a respected author in the United States. Therefore, he considered the photographic medium primarily as an additional tool for “capturing the essence of the visible” just as he did with words.
And it is logical that he will give birth, in 1946, to his first “photo-text” The Inhabitants, in which his photos of Nebraska are combined with his fictional texts. Two other books, The home place and God’s country and my people, will also be presented by Agnès Sire on the occasion of this first Parisian exhibition of Wright Morris.
The objects fascinated him, in that they retain traces of life, and the modest frontality of his images provokes the authentic emotion of the one who discovers a trunk with memories in an attic.
In an open chest of drawers, the intimate objects of a life, on a wooden house facade, the stigmata of passing time, in a jacket hanging on a coat rack, the invisible and yet so visible trace of the body that lived in…
In the footsteps of Walker Evans, Wright Morris works for history and eternity: “I saw the American landscape cluttered with ruins that I wanted to save, the Depression created a world of objects for which I discovered myself affectionate and possessive “. But against his predecessor, he choosed to immortalize no trace of life on human faces. Alone, from the back, his uncle, appears once in all of his work.
Wright Morris’s photographs are inhabited by a disarming and mysterious simplicity.
They are to discover at the Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson until September 29th. 79, rue des Archives in Paris.
Wright Morris : L’Essence du Visible
June 18 – September 29, 2019
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
79 rue des Archives