Extracts from a conference given to the students
of the Concours Général - Imaginary Workshop.
City of Lourdes, France, October 1999
Henri Zerdoun talks: the power of a photograph lies not in its form but in its content. Indeed, in my opinion, a photograph must be timeless, without indication of date or place (it can be here or elsewhere, it does not matter) and free from trends and of the aesthetic criteria of the moment. To answer more precisely, I do not wish to be categorized nor objectified like "the photographer who...". I approach with happiness the need for creating and for seeing. THere is nothing distressing in all that, and when the visitor penetrates into my universe of paper and illusion, I believe that the bet with myself was won. The conversation between image and language can be established. Consequently, it is possible to take the risk to write on a means of expression made of silence: photography. My first concern, if I dare say, is to make the invisible palpable and not omit to make myself available to listening to life, show what I perceived in the intimacy of a smile, of a fugacious caress in the street.... Most of all, I like the playful there is with what I call accidents of light, for example: someones shade in a staircase or the wavelets of water when the wind plays with it... I do not impose anything, I show. Through its intimate movement, its relief and its shades, a picture can trigger the narration, a happy attempt to put in perspective words with images, their substance and their light.
.....................................Someone here asked me whether I was making a living only my publications. In fact, I ask for partnership to help me make a living out of my artistic activity. I submit to public entities or corporations projects of books as internal or external communication tools. Despite fairly good figures for my books and positive reaction from the critics and especially the public, fusing words with pictures does not naturally fit in our "cultural education". There's a whole task of teaching that is required in that domain. That is why I also do conferences like this one, I lend my work for exhibitions and some of my photographs are purchased by amateurs, private and institutional collectors in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, the USA ... These are signed original prints numbered from 1 to 20 and produced by a famous professional in Paris on paper collection/Prestige, usually in 30x40 cm format. If you are interested, take a look at my web site, choose a picture and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all of you. (Laughters and applause)