Émeric Lhuisset on the power and possibilities of photography

In 1972, Associated Press photographer Nick Ut snapped a nine-year-old naked girl fleeing the Napalm bombing with a group of children. In a single frame, ‘The Terror of War’ captured the horrors and human loss of the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize-winning image helped change the course of history, sparking public outrage around the world. Shortly after the image was published, the war came to an end.

‘Théâtre de guerre’ (Theatre of war) © Émeric Lhuisset

The power of a photograph to influence humanity’s collective consciousness cannot be understated. And, Émeric Lhuisset’s work is a critique of a global culture where fact and truth are in danger of losing all meaning. The French visual artist would like to tell an alternative story to contemporary photojournalism and its often sensationalized images of war and migrants, shocking at first yet quickly vanishing from memory. He wants to use the medium of photography to tell real stories of people – displaced people, the migrant, the refugee, the immigrant, the émigré.

‘L’autre rive’ images using cyanotypes © Émeric Lhuisset

Lhuisset is the latest artist to gain the support of BMW Art & Culture through its photographic residency programme at Gobelins L’École de L’Image. Earlier this month, I met with the artist in the French capital at his latest exhibition ‘L’autre rive’ (The other shore) at the annual Paris Photo. Read my interview with the artist here

Guy Bourdin: Image maker

French fashion photographer and artist Guy Bourdin rose to fame in the 1970s for his provocative work. His first major retrospective in the UK, Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker at Somerset House, sets out to capture the 40-year career of this enigmatic creative from Man Ray’s protégé to famed photographer.

In Bourdin’s fashion photography the product is secondary to the image. He almost decorates the space around his models – his images are concerned with this backdrop, the stage.

The stills are meticulously choreographed. There is a perceived narrative, creating tension between the subject and the backdrop. This, combined with his brilliant use of vivid almost hyperreal colours, makes for a fantastically theatrical impact that is at once stylish and playful… and in some cases pretty evocative.


The show exhibits many previously unpublished works from his 1955 to 1987 editorial and advertising fashion shoots for Vogue and Charles Jourdan, as well as rarely seen paintings and sketches.

Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker is at Somerset House in London until 15 March 2015

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All about Eve: Eve Arnold

Eve Arnold photographed the famous and the ordinary – in her own words ‘the poor, the old and the underdog.’ The first woman to join Magnum photography agency as a photojournalist, she captured the sadness and banal in the rich and famous, and the interesting side of ordinary people.

Arnold took portraits without the using artificial light. The Philadelphia-born photographer, who passed away age 99 earlier this year, will be possibly best remembered for her intimate photographs of Marilyn Monroe on the set of John Huston’s 1961 film The Misfits.

CHINA. Inner Mongolia. Horse training for the militia. 1979. R-type print. 17x14. © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos

To celebrate the life of this pioneering photographer, London gallery Art Sensus is exhibiting over 100 unique photographs. Curated by Brigitte Lardinois, All About Eve will offer a spectrum of works from Arnold’s personal archive.

The exhibition includes photographs of Monroe, many from the set of The Misfits, hanging beside portraits of Hollywood legends Marlene Dietrich, Somerset Maugham, Arthur Miller, Joan Crawford, Peter O’Toole, Isabella Rossellini and Orson Welles.

It also includes the many political figures Arnold captured on her camera throughout her career including the Queen and former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath and John Major.

The exhibition includes documentary photographs depicting political events such as extensive coverage of Malcolm X’s Black Muslim movement in the 1960s and Britain’s 1981 riots.

All About Eve outlines Arnold’s extensive travels to Afghanistan, China and Russia. These include evocative landscapes of rural China, photographs of the Mongolian militia, asylum patients in Haiti, children in the ghettos of Puerto Rico, Navajo women in the American southwest, portraits of veiled Afghani widows and the ‘oldest men in the world’ in the former Soviet Union.

‘All About Eve’, Art Sensus 02 March – 27 April 2012  

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