a photo is constituted by chance

The room was filled with cameras… real cameras.  It was an evening for photographers. They came to hear Raymond Depardon talk about his exhibition, Correspondance New-Yorkaise 2017 at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise). In 1981 Depardon shot La correspondance New-Yorkaise which was published for Liberation newspaper in France.  The current exhibition is a re-thinking of the previous New-Yorkaise, which was shot over a period of 12 days in May 2017.

Raymond Depardon, Correspondance New Yorkaise 1981, Park Avenue from Ladies Room. Shot with 35mm Leica in black and white.

The current exhibition was a dream of Francois Hebel, the curator of the show.  Depardon had a small window of free time before going to Cannes to be at the premiere of his new film, 12 Jours.

He arrived in New York two weeks go, to start and complete Correspndance New Yorkaise 2017..

Raymond Depardon, 2017- “6:57 am, May 1, 2017. Dawn rises on Broadway. I take my first 8 x 10 inch photo before ushing to the lab. The city doesn’t seem to have changed much. It still has this “photography heaven” aspect, while retaining a “snake pit” side to it that I very much like.

Hebel:  Has New York changed?
Depardon:   Yes, for the good.  The first day of shooting was a real challenge.  35 years ago I walked around a great deal.  A large format camera is not easy to walk around with.  The city is much more global.  35 years ago there were Europeans and South Americans.  Now the city is made up of people from everywhere.   I made 6 photos a day.  Anecdotal photos were impossible.

Raymond Depardon, New Yorkaise 2017, 2:30 pm, May 1, 2017. 3rd Street and 9th Avenue, New York. The photographer Walker Evans, inventor of modern reporting, comes to mind. Born in 1903 like my father and the Japanese filmmaker Ozu. They are constant references for seeing things with a certain warmth and elegance, especially in these noisy and oft-photographed streets of New York.

“I call this kind of photography like a policeman writing a police report. I like to write the text.  Of course some the photos were dictated by Liberation.  I was in New York during the French elections…so

Raymond Depardon, New Yorkaise 2017. 9 am, May 8, 2017. Union Square. It’s one of the rare remaining newsstands in the city. This morning, even the New York Post’s headline talks of the French election, “France’s New Leader, Macron: Oui did it!” For the New York Times, it’s Shunning An Emergent Far right.” France has elected Macron as its president while rejecting the emerging far right. Same story for the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times: “Macron Cruises to French Victory” and “Macron Sweeps to Victory.” Macron sails to a victory and wins the presidential election. The city is in a good mood. It’s hilly out, but the sun is shining.

Raymond Depardon, New-Yorkaise 2017. 8 am, May 9, 2017. Brooklyn. Many young people go to live in Brooklyn, they abandon Manhattan, where rents are higher and community life is nonexistent. Life is better in Brooklyn. Paul Auster and his neighborhood chronicles come to mind. Landscape photography is always a bit prophetic. It records the major transformations in people’s lives, which, ten years later, influence the elector’s vote. Increasingly, city centers are deserted, or else what is left are poor people, rich people and office buildings.

Question from the audience: Do I do digital?
Depardon:  I have just gotten to color.  Maybe it’s a function of being old.

As Depardon said, “each photographer has a story to tell.  When I am in New York, I have ideas I would never have in France”.

If you interested in Depardon’s take on New York, you can purchase a signed,  40″ x 50″ print on archival pigment paper for $5,000.

*all text under photos from written by Depardon to accompany the photographs.





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