BANDE-ANNONCE // TEASER #1

20 Années-lumière

EXPOSITION PHOTOS ARGENTIQUES // CATALOGUE EXPO // FILM DOCUMENTAIRE VIDEO

 

« 20 années-lumière » est une collection de 13 prises de vues light-painting réalisées en noir-et-blanc, par l’artiste-auteur photographe Thierry PONS, dans le Tarn (France, Sud-Ouest), il y a tout juste 20 ans.

 

VOLONTAIREMENT, ces photographies n’ont JAMAIS été développées ni tirées sur un support papier.

 

Pendant tout ce temps, ces images sont restées dans leur écrin, fixées sur la pellicule d’origine que l’auteur a conservée quasi-quotidiennement, dans ses poches de blousons, de pantalons, de sacs photos, dans la boite à gants de sa voiture, le tiroir de son bureau, pour finalement se reposer dans un carton du garage jusqu’à aujourd’hui.

 

Alors,  pourquoi l’auteur ne les a-t-il jamais développées ?

 

Que nous dévoileront ces photographies après un tel voyage dans le temps ? Ces traces de lumière auront-elles disparues ? Seront-elles seulement altérées, ou au contraire, sublimées à la manière un peu d’un grand vin dans une vieille bouteille?

 

Mais surtout, quels jeux graphiques nous réservent-elles ? Et quelle mémoire sécrète cachent-elles ?

 

La magie des tirages argentiques sur papier baryté, sera-t-elle bien au rendez-vous ?

 

 

BANDE-ANNONCE // TEASER #2

20 Light-years

ARGENTIC PHOTOS FINE-ART // EXHIBITION CATALOG // DOCUMENTARY VIDEO FILM

 

« 20  light-years" is a collection of 13 light-painting shots made in black and white, by the photographer and artist Thierry PONS, in the Tarn region (France, South West), exactly 20 years ago.

 

Those photographs have NEVER been developed nor printed, on purpose.

 

During all this time, those pictures have been staying in their canister, set on the original roll of film which has followed the artist almost daily, safely concealed in his jacket, trousers, photo bags, in his car's glove box, his desk drawer, only to finally remain in a cardboard box in his garage until today.

 

So, why didn't the artist ever develop them? What will these photographs unveil after such a trip through time? Will those imprints of light have disappeared? Will they be simply distorted or, on the contrary, sublimated like a great wine in an old bottle?

 

Most importantly, what visual games do they have for us? What secret memories are they hiding?

 

Will the magic of silver prints on baryta paper work at all?

 

 

What is on this film ?

T.P : In 1996, during a night-time car race, I produced thirteen shots in bulb exposure, on the side of a road.

 

The light from the headlights of the racing cars in full speed, the changing human and vegetal figures around it, the outline of the sometimes straight, sometimes curving road, and the surrounding atmosphere that is always special during the night rather than the day all inspired me to use the technique of light painting. There, I found the ideal ground to create subtle games of graphics and backlighting, to dramatize the luminous animation and the movements of the shadows in a dark setting, almost unreal, to translate my emotions and my creativity.

 

To emphasize these effects, I have chosen the black and white, loyal to my initial education as a designer specializing in hyper-realism using a pencil, influenced by the art of chiaroscuro, and still under the influence of my recent humanist photographic production in South America, at the time.

 

Why did you never develop or print these images ?

It was a deliberate choice from the very beginning. Inspired by the time the light of the stars travel to reach our eyes, I wished to give time to these imprints of light to reach us. Some stars are already dead by the time we become aware of their existence.

 

What will become of that light fixed on the film ? Will it manage to travel through time like the light of the stars ? What will become of it at the end ? That is what makes the beauty and pleasure of discovery, and rediscovery : to "await the unexpected"! These notions are forgotten nowadays. With the advent of digital photography, at the beginning of the new millenium, everything has become quicker and more immediate. As soon as the shot is taken, the photographers verify systematically their pictures on the screen of their cameras to inspect the imperfections, to check that everything is OK, or to correct them. Not to mention the new technologies, smartphones and social networks where everyone remasters their own picture with artificial effects. The magic and surprise have been replaced by a dogmatic world where the core has little importance in comparision to the form.

 

Here, with the project "20 light-years", I am on a quest to find happenstance and mystery, the success of an idea but also perhaps its failure, without any fear of failure, or of doing wrong. It is a risk that I learned to accept thanks to the passage of time and its depth.

It is a poetic work. A philosophical question about the passing of Time and our relation to it.

 

Why did you keep this film on your own person for so long ?

The main reason was to commit to a particular maturation process by providing these photographs a "prenatal" experience by exposing them to heat, cold, and impacts to give them a distinctive grain and a unique "color", an original appeal and a personal soul; it's a process similar to wine to keep, aging in an oak barrel, which will possess its own gustatory qualities depending on the place, the atmosphere, the bottle or the cork.

 

Why did you keep this film on your own person for so long ?

The main reason was to commit to a particular maturation process by providing these photographs a "prenatal" experience by exposing them to heat, cold, and impacts to give them a distinctive grain and a unique "color", an original appeal and a personal soul; it's a process similar to wine to keep, aging in an oak barrel, which will possess its own gustatory qualities depending on the place, the atmosphere, the bottle or the cork.

 

The second reason was more unexpected. At the beginning, this film had rapidly become a sort of talisman, a lucky charm, bringing me in return a supplementary energy, a creative power, a help for inspiration, a protection against doubt and fear in my daily work. But the more time passed, the more I managed to grow apart from it, until I completely detached from it, certainly the fruit of the experience and maturity I acquired. But also to enjoy further a certain set day, the instant of the reunion. "To forget" about this film in order to, in the future, take the most pleasure out of the surprise and find again wonder.

 

I am swimming against the flow of the ephemeral pictures on Snapchat, Instagram or the Internet in general. Only Time will decide the existence and duration of those photos. No one else, especially not digital system without a soul, nor a body.

 

Why did you wait and choose today, in 2016, to develop and print these pictures ?

At the time of the shots, in 1996, the silver technique gave, on an etymological level, all of its sense to photography: writing with the light. The light truly permeated tracks on the negative, and everything was real and concrete. We could touch, tidy, manipulate the images. Nowadays, the light is transformed in digital data and everything can lie digitally on a hard disk, a computer or a telephone. When you turn off the screen, nothing is left. The object is missing.

 

In respect to this modern evolution, in which I progress professionally, I wished to go back towards initial values to find again photography as an object, but mainly to go to the end of an idea and an artistic approach undertaken with frim conviction twenty years ago.

 

Yes, twenty years have passed. A generation was born without knowing anything about silver, without ever touching real paper pictures. And facing the saturation of images, particularly on the Internet, I try today to take another path, and to go towards another photographic and artistic practice. Going back to the origins, to my roots as a photographer. It is a  gamble and an actual commited stance. A work with no safety net since the beginning, and it is a piece of art of which, for once, no one, not even me, knows the end. Only the purpose. 

 

 

 

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