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Agence VU - Hugues de Wurstemberger
Hugues de Wurstemberger

Swiss photographer, born in 1955, member of Agence VU' since its creation in 1986 and represented by Galerie VU', lives in Brussels where he teaches photography.


As a former member of the Swiss Guard, Hugues de Wurstemberger first made a name for himself thanks to the photographs he took of the Swiss Guard daily life, which were brought together for an exhibition in 1985 at the Musée de l'Elysée in Lausanne. From then on, he devoted himself to photography and developed his own style, preferably in black and white and medium format: "What interests me above all is the real thing. A photo is in any case only a flattening of reality, so it's better to keep it simple. And if it's more than that, it's because there's a little something - that doesn't always happen - a kind of grace".  

Usually on the fringes of current events, he has "got into the habit of dealing with subjects that are rather unsaleable, betting on in-depth work rather than on preconceived ideas". In this way, he looks at the daily life and intimacy of forgotten populations, endangered or struck by the loss of their territories: in Morocco, with the Saharawi populations, but also in Mauritania, El Salvador, Zambia or Ethiopia. It also collaborates with humanitarian organisations and associations: with Pestalozzi Children's Foundation for "From Addis to Dimtu", or with Les amis de l'atelier for "Persons", a series of portraits of people with disabilities. With the photographers Jane Evelyn Atwood, Jean-Marc Bodson, Gaël Turine and Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, he documented Belgian prisons in 2006 as part of the collective project "L'enfer-me-ment" (ed. Husson). 

It is still in this perspective of transfiguring the banality of the ordinary by the grace of a fair distance, between tenderness and smile, that he also devotes himself to subjects that are closer to him. In 1995, he photographed the farmers in the Swiss mountains, who are a "counterpoint to the Switzerland of banks and cleanliness", fighting against the modernization and standardization of lifestyles. In 2005, "AOC, une identité retrouvée" (Infolio) was published, as well as "Pauline et Pierre" (Quo Vadis), a family album that brings together over 18 years the "little white pebbles" of his two children's youth. 

His work was granted in 1990 by the Niépce Prize, in 1991 by the World Press Photo, and in 2002 by the Silver Prize.


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Portfolio

Portraits

Series

Pauline et Pierre (2005)

"Pauline and Pierre are very lucky ones and, if I didn't know them for as long as ever, I would probably be very jealous of them. Actually they have the most beautiful family album that exists in the whole world. Because they have a daddy that loves them, of course, but also because their daddy can't help being a photographer at each instant of their lives, at each of their breathe. On the pictures of this album, we see them growing up, like children who discover the world, then invent their own, by turns, breack-neck, witty, infernal, tender, playful, worried, cheerful, amazed. We also see their relationship with their mother and their grand mother ( the one with their father, the...

The peasants, Switzerland (1995)

The peasant is the one that lives with the land. He builds the landscape and is always present in the looks we have on nature. Doing a story of the figure of our societies is then as natural as important.

Cannes Film Festival (1994)

Cannes is a dream coming true for two weeks every year. And as in every dream, there are always people in the shadow to make it exist. Whereas they are cleaning ladies, technicians or even photographers that fix on glossy paper the stars, they all have a part to play, an assigned, reserved place. Cannes must remains a dream, those people must remain in the shadow except for Hugues de Wurstemberger.

Swiss Guard (1985)

The Corps of the Pontifical Swiss Guard as part of the Military of the Vatican City is an exception to the Swiss rulings of 1874 and 1927. It is a small force responsible for the security of the Apostolic Palace, the entrances to the Vatican City and the safety of the Pope. Its official language is German.

Books

L'enfer-me-ment

Collectif : photographies de Jane Evelyn Atwood, Jean-Marc Bodson, Gaël Turine, Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt, Hugues de Wurstemberger
La prison est un lieu où la société enferme non seulement des personnes, mais aussi ses peurs, comme si la sécurité générale pouvait être appréciée à l’indice du nombre des détenus. Outre les commentaires de certains détenus, les photos de ce livre sont loin d’être muettes : elles interrogent non seulement sur les conditions de l’enfermement, mais aussi sur sa raison d’être. La prison peut-elle rester cet endroit clos où l’on parque à l’aveugle ceux qui ont commis, ou en sont seulement soupçonnés, des faits attentatoires à la sécurité publique, aussitôt enfermés, aussitôt oubliés ?
Text by: alain Wiame, Delphine Paci, Dan Kaminski, Philippe Mary

Publisher: Husson (2006)
142 pages
ISBN :978-2916249094   

AOC, une identité retrouvée

Didier Schmutz, journaliste et reporter bien connu dans le monde agricole, accompagné de deux photographes, Hugues de Wurstemberger et Christian Lutz, ont sillonné la Suisse à la rencontre de ces femmes et de ces hommes attachés à leur terroir et qui œuvrent au quotidien afin de nous faire partager ces joyaux de notre patrimoine culinaire que sont le Gruyère AOC, la Tête de Moine AOC, L’Etivaz AOC, le Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOC, le Sbrinz AOC, le Berner Alpkäse AOC et le Formaggio d’alpe ticinese AOC.
Text by: Didier Schmutz

Publisher: Infolio (2005)
276 pages
Size: 28 x 28 cm
ISBN :2-88474-009-0   

Pauline et Pierre

"Toujours en carré, toujours en noir et blanc, toujours soucieux de recueillir les vibrations de la lumière qui sculpte le monde de l’étagement de ses gris ou de ses contrastes, Hugues de Wurstemberger sait mieux que quiconque, sans maniérisme aucun, trouver la distance juste, l’espace adéquat, le ton pertinent, entre tendresse et sourire, qui lui permettent d’échapper à l’anecdotique.
Les albums de famille sont rarement montrés, et ce n’est souvent que justice, même si une vogue actuelle fait que l’on se penche sur leur dimension historique. Celui dont Pauline et Pierre sont les acteurs principaux démontre simplement qu’il n’y a pas de sujet “mineur”, qu’il y a juste des photographes mineurs."
Christian Caujolle

Publisher: Quo Vadis (2005)
120 pages
Size: 25x25cm  

Personnes

Pour les 40 ans de l’association d’aide aux handicapés "Les Amis de l'atelier"
Text by: Nathalie Pessel

Publisher: Jones Borgers (2001)
ISBN :2-9517708-0-4   

D'addis à Dimtu

Hugues de Wurstemberger a réalisé en 1998 cette commande photographique pour l’organisation humanitaire Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation (P.L.F.). C’est un regard nouveau sur l’Ethiopie et son peuple qui est proposé ici.
Text by: Christian Caujolle, Didier Schmutz

Publisher: Théâtre de la photographie (2001)
120 pages

Paysans

Didier Schmutz restitue avec brio ses interlocuteurs, Hugues de Wurstemberg a la maîtrise du grand photographe dont l'attentive concentration permet de comprendre mieux, et souvent d'une seule image, l'étendue du désastre agricole.
Charles-Henri Favrod
Text by: Didier Schmutz

Publisher: La sarine / Hazan (1996)
176 pages
Size: 25x25cm
ISBN :2-88355-030-1   

Chronique d'un été Algérien

Photographies de Claudine Doury, John Vink, Hugues de Wurstemberger et Patrick Zachmann

Publisher: Plume (1993)
ISBN :2908034824   

Awards


    2002 - Silver Award

    1991 - World Press Photo Award

    1990 - Niepce Award

Exhibitions



Paysans 1988-2005 (Matemale)
From 2020-06-27 to 2020-10-24

Ce travail sur les paysans vient de loin. Il est l\'occasion pour Hugues de Wurstemberger de rappeler combien l\'enfance, les proches, une terre d\'alpage avec laquelle il entretient un rapport quasi charnel, tout cela est déterminant dans son œuvre. Ce n\'est pas tant la condition paysanne qui a motivé́ son travail, mais son histoire personnelle, une dette envers son enfance : il a beaucoup arpenté les alpages avec ses copains, quand il habitait Fribourg. C\'est ce rapport direct, instinctif et brutal à la communauté́ des alpages qui génère ces images énigmatiques. Ce...

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Farmers (Libourne)
From 2019-03-14 to 2019-04-14

Within the scope of the Printemps de la Photographie in Pomerol, Hugues de Wurstemberger displays his series “Farmers” (1995). Born in 1955 in Bern, Switzerland, the photographer Hugues de Wurstemberger have always known how to capture events with an authentic outlook. His style is identifiable between thousand : the quality of black and white; the square framing; the choice made to offset the subject to emphasize on his, her or its environment; the refusal of the repetition and of superficial effects… This “fresh look” that couldn’t be taught at school. Niepce Prize laureate in...

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Pauline et Pierre (Lorient)
From 2015-02-27 to 2015-05-10

\"Pauline and Pierre are very lucky ones and, if I didn\'t know them for as long as ever, I would probably be very jealous of them. Actually they have the most beautiful family album that exists in the whole world. Because they have a daddy that loves them, of course, but also because their daddy can\'t help being a photographer at each instant of their lives, at each of their breathe. On the pictures of this album, we see them growing up, like children who discover the world, then invent their own, by turns, breack-neck, witty, infernal, tender, playful, worried, cheerful, amazed. We also...

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Saharans (Sète)
From 2013-05-08 to 2013-05-26

During several visits to the Western Sahara, refusing press trips and naive propaganda, Hugues de Wurstemberger shared the everyday lives of Saharans for a long period of time. From 1991, he came back with a portrait which expresses his warm regard for these people and the cause that they defend, but which, by focusing on the ordinary and apparently anecdotal moments of their everyday life, also unveils the immemorial beauty of this people and its traditional lifestyle. Men live between the sand and the sky, far from the exoticism of dromedary caravans and kohl rimmed gazes. Their...

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Album (Mont sur Marchienne (Charleroi))
From 2008-05-10 to 2008-09-14

Hugues de Wurstemberger, in the retrospective ' Pauline and Pierre', exposes black and white photographs of his children taken during 18 years : some vibrations of life, emotion... This artist transfigures the banality of the everyday life, and send back the public to memories, to the flying time. The exhibition < i>Album also presents a projection of its various explorations, in particular in Africa, about populations losing their territory or disapearing themselves.

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