"Can a white man photograph a black man?" "

Column: Can a white artist still photograph black people? Or another community than his? This question, unimaginable three years ago, arises, especially in the United States, where incidents are multiplying.Nothing surprising.In contact with reality, photography is at the heart of the debate, to say the least tense, on cultural appropriation.

We have a fascinating example in Paris, at the Fondation Cartier-Bresson, which exhibits until October 18 the American photographer Gregory Halpern, the latter is white, he has photographed blacks in Guadeloupe.This postulate has become a problem.whose exposure, otherwise excellent, responds to another.

You have to start from the image that opens the hanging.In the sea, near the shore, a black man holds in his arms a white woman floating in the light.The image is soft and disturbing at the same time, because it is mysterious..What is the relationship between them? Submission or equality? Did the man save the woman from drowning? Is he his companion? At his service? We do not know and it is wonderful.

The general presentation text of the exhibition gives leads.Halpern, who knows the history of Guadeloupe, "marked by colonization and slavery", intends to evoke the traces of a painful past, which has remained alive.says that his portraits of Guadeloupe are not “the product of an appropriation but that of an exchange.” Hear: Halpern photographed the inhabitants with their consent.Some even posed.We also learn that he is Jewish and that 'he is interested in "the recombination of the cultures of the world." So many precautions to legitimize his work and avoid trouble.

Posted Date: 2021-01-02

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