The Asphalt Memories

An exhibition of photographs by French artist Bruno Paccard.

10 to 27 July 2012
Opening Tuesday 10 July, 6.30pm to 8.00pm

A footprint, a tyre track, a fossil.  Where passers-by simply see the asphalt, Bruno Paccard uses his camera lens to bring out the imprint of life and civilization itself.  These "asphalt memories” are primarily a work about lines and texture.  The very harsh framing brings into sharp contrast the perfectly smooth surface of the roads with the heat-blistered pavements and footpaths.  These monochrome photographs are impressively large in size and highlight all the shades of grey in between the black and the white.


Bruno Paccard’s photographs are meant to be an anthropological analysis of society as shown by the imprints that civilization has made in the asphalt.  His photos recount the memories we leave behind, like the picture of a tiny Eiffel Tower-shaped earring that has been lost or thrown and got stuck in the road of the Place de la Concorde in Paris.  His photographs capture life in a single moment frozen in the asphalt.



In a few words, who is Bruno Paccard?

I was born on 18 November 1946 in Nice in France. Didn’t know my father, raised by my mother. Divorced, 2 children, 1 daughter, 1 son.

What was the trigger that launched you into a career as a photographer?

 At age 14, I was working as an errand boy at the newspaper Nice Matin in Nice. At that time, press photographers were employees. Attracted by the image, I got on well with them, one of them taught me everything. I photographed and developed for him, all sorts of local events, horse races, football matches, the Cannes Film Festival, local crime stories etc

You created a collection of photographs of the city of Lyon. Notably, you founded a photo-cinema department in a youth centre in 1968. In 1973, you created the photographers’ association GAP (Groupe d’Action Photo, Photo Action Group) to conserve an ancient area of Lyon that was under threat. Why the attachment to that city?

My maternal grandfather lived in Lyon. After a period of unemployment (events of 68), my ex-wife and I decided to migrate to Lyon after receiving a positive response from a big photo laboratory. After going backwards and forwards to the country, I came back to live in Lyon these last few years. I love this city for its dynamism and its human scale. A large exhibition on Lyon’s old prisons is planned for September 2012 for cultural heritage.

One notices a certain interest for black-and-white work in your collections. Where does your penchant for this style of photography come from?

At the time when I started, very little colour was used in the press. I’m still attached to black and white because it’s a means of representation that speaks to the imagination and gives more possibilities of interpretation of a subject in the dark room. Nonetheless, these last few years I’ve dealt with several subjects in colour.

How was the plan to exhibit in Australia born?

Thanks to my Australian friends who had a house that they shared in the Ardèche region where I lived for a while. They loved my photos. Two years ago they suggested I exhibit in Mildura, then a friend living in Melbourne suggested to the Alliance Française that they organise an exhibition of my works and they accepted.

Brièvement, qui est Bruno Paccard?

Je suis né le 18 novembre 1946 à Nice en France. Père inconnu, élevé par ma mère. Divorcé, 2 enfants, 1 fille, 1 garçon.

Quel a été le déclic qui vous a lancé dans une carrière de photographe?

A 14 ans, je travaillais comme garçon de course dans le journal Nice Matin à Nice. A cette époque, les photographes de presse étaient salariés. Attiré par l’image, j’ai sympathisé avec eux, l’un d’entre eux m’a tout appris. J’ai photographié et développé pour lui, toutes sortes de manifestations locales, courses de chevaux, match de football, Festival de Cannes, fait divers etc...

Vous avez créé une collection de photographies sur la ville de Lyon. Vous y avez notamment fondé un département photo cinéma dans une maison de jeunes en 1968. En 1973, vous avez créé l’association de photographes GAP (Groupe d’Action Photo) pour préserver un ancien quartier Lyonnais menacé. Pourquoi cet attachement à cette ville?

Mon grand père maternel habitait à Lyon. Après une période de chômage (évènements de 68) nous avons décidés mon ex femme et moi de migrer à Lyon après avoir reçu une réponse positive d’un grand laboratoire photo. Après des allers -retours en milieu rural, je suis revenu vivre à Lyon ces dernières années. J’aime cette ville pour son dynamisme et son échelle humaine. Une grande exposition est prévue en septembre 2012 sur les anciennes prisons de Lyon pour le patrimoine.

On remarque un certain intérêt pour le travail en noir et blanc dans vos collections. D’où vous vient ce penchant pour ce style de photographie?

A l’époque où j’ai commencé, on utilisait très peu la couleur dans la presse. Je reste attaché au noir et blanc parce qu’il est un moyen de représentation qui parle à l’imaginaire et donne plus de possibilités d’interprétation d’un sujet dans la chambre noire. Néanmoins, ces dernières années j’ai traité quelques sujets en couleur.

Comment le projet d’exposer en Australie est-il né?

Grâce à mes amis Australiens qui avaient une maison à plusieurs dans l’Ardèche ou j’ai vécu un temps. Ils aimaient mes photos, Il y a 2 ans ils m’ont proposés d’exposer à Mildura, puis Christopher Long qui habite Melbourne en a parlé à Saliha Lefevre et.....voila!





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