Snapshots / Bernard Plossu: The Eye of Emmanuel Bacquet

He's not keen on legends under photographs, pregnant with meaning. Nor is he keen on the "legendary photographer" tag. "Plo" doesn't stand on ceremony. He doesn't need to. He avoids interviews, because what matters is in his photos, and talking about the rest is of secondary importance. "Photography for photography's sake." Confidences and comments are reserved for friends and family. His words have the same accuracy as his photographic writing; lucid, direct. 

His "photographic thought" gradually morphed into a gesture, unless it was the opposite, where the gesture precedes the thought. Plossu isn't necessarily looking for a "beautiful photo". He has no mannerism and doesn't use a "system" of fuzziness, sharpness, black and white... He seeks to be free. And if it happens to be with a rudimentary camera then that suits him fine. Above all, the image must happen stealthily, "without thinking" or else it's "fucked up". He is more concerned with the balance of the moment.

His "photographic thought" gradually morphed into a gesture, unless it was the opposite...

What Thomas Goupille has managed to capture here is this other moment when everything is in its place: between coffee and the song of the cicadas, with family, one day in July. In the naturalism of this interview, around the shared photos, there is certainly a lot of the photographer. He talks about the films that matter to him (Bresson, Antonioni, Jessua, etc.), then Paris by Agfamatic and the freedom that comes from photographing with a toy. And finally, he pulls out magnificent Fresson prints in timeless colours, one by one from a box, as if he were sharing an assortment of pastries.

These same images were to give rise shortly afterwards to "Bernard Plossu's Italy" at the MEP, an exhibition on which I had the pleasure of working with him on the films presented. Quite simply, he entrusted me with what was nothing less than the super-8 film of the Mexican trip, found in a drawer, to see if I could "do anything with it."

The sincerity is always so disarming, as in these snapshots with Bernard Plossu; you feel, for at least fifteen minutes, like the friend of a great artist. 


Translated from French by Mark Goodwin

Film linked to this article

Bernard Plossu | Snapshots

Capturing the essence of everyday life through Plossu's lens.