Françoise Huguier — Discretion
Visa pour l’image : Festival International du Photojournalisme
Exhibition at Couvent des Minimes:
From August 27 to September 11, 2022
Meeting at Palais des Congrès :
August 31, 2022 – 10am
For more than forty years, photographer Françoise Huguier has been working on this discreet retreat that is not a retreat. In the vocabulary of classical architecture, a retreat designates a small room attached to the bedroom where one can isolate oneself. Françoise Huguier is the solitary tenant of this dark room where she creates her luminous images. Difficult to grasp, not easy to define. It is enough to have observed her at work. What we discover then, is that we hardly ever see her taking pictures.
She is an invisible woman, a great reporter ready to lurk in waiting, in ambush perhaps, whether backstage during a fashion parade, in shadows in Africa or Siberia, in old communal apartments in Saint Petersburg, or behind the scenes in a Korean company.
What does she mean by showing, developing, exhibiting, editing? That a picture is better than a long speech? That a snapshot has a lasting value? It is surely much more complicated. In Korea, in Ile-de-France or in Deauville, it is always very difficult to photograph intimacy. She doesn’t rush to her camera, she listens and makes people talk about their lives. During this time, her eyes, like a scanner, locate the future shots and measure the light. Then she asks if she can go to the bathroom, an intimate place that always tells the family story: photos, newspapers, toilet paper. On her way out, she asks “innocently” who is the little boy in the picture, the brand of toilet paper… and there it is the sesame, she is offered to visit the apartment. She manages to photograph the wardrobe, the owner in her bed in her nightgown or in the shower. This is an investigative technique that she obviously did not have when she started photography.
Over time, Françoise Huguier has undertaken to tell the story of her life by looking at the lives of others (…) But, as an exciting paradox, it is perhaps when she is closest to an autobiographical model that Françoise Huguier distances herself from it the most.
Gérard Lefort, critic