Bernard
Descamps

Bernard Descamps

biography


French photographer, based in Chinon(France)

First trained as a biologist, Bernard Descamps became a photographer in the 1970s. His photographs were published for the first time in 1974, in the mythical Swiss magazine Camera. The following year, his first major exhibition was presented by Jean-Claude Lemagny at the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and in 1978, Pierre de Fenoyl offered him an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Rétrospective restreinte.  He joined the founders of the VU’ Agency at its creation in 1986.

For fifty years, Bernard Descamps has explored photography in all its forms, from reportage to landscape and portraiture, from black and white to color. As a tireless traveler, he has visited many countries, meeting people and their customs (Mali, India, Japan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Madagascar, Morocco, etc). .

However, he proposes a travel photography that is above all that of an inner journey: his images, which pure lines often approach abstraction, “do not describe objects or events” but “would like to reveal tiny fragments of time” in his own words.

Author of fourteen monographs, Bernard Descamps is exhibited in numerous galleries and museums and represented by the Camera Obscura Gallery in Paris and the Box Gallery in Brussels. In parallel to his work, Bernard Descamps participates actively in the development and recognition of photography: in 1994 he co-founded with Françoise Huguier the first African photography meetings in Bamako (Mali), and from 1994 to 2012 he was artistic director of the theater La Passerelle in Gap (France).

Series


Right here, 2012

Series | Conducted between 1974 and 2012, mostly in France or Europe, these images satisfy my desire to meddle in the moments and places a priori no relation with each other in a kind of automatic writing, like the surrealists.

Quelques Afriques, 2011

Series | Bernard Descamps feels good in Africa. Intending to meet landscapes and men, he mixes up with Berbers, Fulani, Bozo people, Pygmy people; the pictures of these populations have deeply moved anyone who has looked at them.

Lady Land, 2009

Series | This book is a poetic stroll where you can stroll through the wooded countryside, naked bodies in a room, beds calm rivers or snow that we evoke body.

Japan, 1992-1995

Series | Result of several trips in the Japanese archipelago, this work reflects the photographer’s liking for the lightness and tranquility specific to the land of the rising sun.

Sahara, 1987

Series | The sensual and magnificent desert of Bernard Descamps is the culmination of a long-term project on spaces that crosses all the photographer’s production.

Right here, 2012

Series | Conducted between 1974 and 2012, mostly in France or Europe, these images satisfy my desire to meddle in the moments and places a priori no relation with each other in a kind of automatic writing, like the surrealists.

Quelques Afriques, 2011

Series | Bernard Descamps feels good in Africa. Intending to meet landscapes and men, he mixes up with Berbers, Fulani, Bozo people, Pygmy people; the pictures of these populations have deeply moved anyone who has looked at them.

Lady Land, 2009

Series | This book is a poetic stroll where you can stroll through the wooded countryside, naked bodies in a room, beds calm rivers or snow that we evoke body.

Japan, 1992-1995

Series | Result of several trips in the Japanese archipelago, this work reflects the photographer’s liking for the lightness and tranquility specific to the land of the rising sun.

Sahara, 1987

Series | The sensual and magnificent desert of Bernard Descamps is the culmination of a long-term project on spaces that crosses all the photographer’s production.

Right here, 2012

Series | Conducted between 1974 and 2012, mostly in France or Europe, these images satisfy my desire to meddle in the moments and places a priori no relation with each other in a kind of automatic writing, like the surrealists.

Quelques Afriques, 2011

Series | Bernard Descamps feels good in Africa. Intending to meet landscapes and men, he mixes up with Berbers, Fulani, Bozo people, Pygmy people; the pictures of these populations have deeply moved anyone who has looked at them.

Lady Land, 2009

Series | This book is a poetic stroll where you can stroll through the wooded countryside, naked bodies in a room, beds calm rivers or snow that we evoke body.

Japan, 1992-1995

Series | Result of several trips in the Japanese archipelago, this work reflects the photographer’s liking for the lightness and tranquility specific to the land of the rising sun.

Sahara, 1987

Series | The sensual and magnificent desert of Bernard Descamps is the culmination of a long-term project on spaces that crosses all the photographer’s production.

Interviews


Screening and debate with Bernard Descamps
Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine

2017

Much more than landscapes, Bernard Descamps photographs poetic situations. From Africa to Iceland, he travels the world, appropriating sites and moments. The spaces he composes in his images are the sensitive traces of inner journeys. Oscillating between dream and reality, his images brush on abstraction while revealing the presences that inhabit the places he crosses. Very graphically constructed, his images are nonetheless lively and spontaneous photographic encounters.
Projection-debate in the presence of Bernard Descamps, Sophie Bernard, author, journalist, curator, and Dominique Marchès, photographer, art centre director, curator.

Bernard Descamps
Festival Planche(s) Contact, Deauville

2016

A master of black and white photography, Bernard Descamps loves the curves of beaches and deserts, bird skies and beach lights. Since the 80’s, with a unique sense of framing and composition, Bernard Descamps has been using the square format that purifies et recomposes the landscapes of Africa, the streets of Tokyo or the northern beaches in winter. In Deauville, he takes back his favorite posture, the photographer-traveler one who walks for a long time and strides beach and city, empty or invested spaces, during the week-end as well as the week. This is how he reveals it, in nuances and in all its lights.

What happened to our dreams?
LCR Belgique

2015

Let’s take a look at the view of a photographer who transforms every situation into poetry. Bernard Descamps is the guest of LCR Belgium for his new book ” Où sont passés nos rêves ” published by Éditions Filigranes.

Lady Land
Filigranes

2009

Bernard Descamps, contrary to other publications often related to countries or travels, makes us discover here, in this book Lady Land, his own poetic and personal vision with a great sensuality translated in these black and white images by shades of gray.

BOOKS


Japon

Filigranes - 2001

Japon

Filigranes - 2001

Japon

Filigranes - 2001

AWARDS


Humanity photo Award – 2nd Prize (UNESCO)

For the series “Le don du Fleuve”

2004

Humanity photo Award – 3rd Prize (UNESCO)

For the series “Pygmées, l’esprit de la forêt”

2000

Prix Médicis Hors les Murs

1992

Grants of the Fondation nationale de la photographie

1979