Our friend Marie Bottin, Head of Art Buying Dpt, CLM BBDO, Paris, presents on GoSee her new photo book highlight: “Anton Renborg, a Swedish photographer, who is familiar with Vichy only by its name, takes part in the discovery of this city and its inhabitants in order to fulfill the request made to him by the eponymous Festival of Photography, in the context of their 2016 edition dedicated to the 'Portrait(s)'. Always faithful to his working habits, Anton avoids any upstream preparation.
No preconceived idea or plan needed: he works with feeling, by listening to his intuitions and by focusing on the moment. This method, unique to this artist, allows him to avoid the distortion of the encounter as it arrives, both with a person and with a place. He wants it as true as possible, without any filter, whether in speech or in pose. No production required even when the image seems staged. His relationship to photography is characterized as wild, pure, humanist and even candid. Anton always leaves room for the person he captures and therefore simply steps back.
Authenticity and simplicity inhabit his pictures. No need for frills and overdoing in Anton’s captions. It’s really about getting the closest possible to a person or place’s Essence. Avoiding negative cliches that might easily appeal to certain situations.
Chacha characterizes this approach; a stripper he decides to photograph while she trains and concentrates on herself and only herself, alone, at home, far from the strip club scene as it could be imagined. The story line takes shape progressively and throughout his various strolls in Vichy, always guided by the several fragments of life told by his fellow travelers who all come from a sort of sleepy upperclass. The History of a city, of its great remains, at the time of the Belle Epoque, the pre-war era. The story of its people who would leave it for absolutely nothing.
From this visual material, Anton first composed a book as one writes a partition, and an exhibition was set up for the Portrait(s) 2016 edition. His book is not purely documentary. It does not claim to be either exhaustive or objective. His book is something different. Anton delivers fragments of his fleeting encounters, his shared experience, his vision – subjective per essence. This visual partition is made up of resonances, echoes, punctuations. The portraits of Antoine, Yves, P.O, and Audran are intermingled with photographs of empty places: rhythmic breathings between two encounters.
Like an enthusiastic folk stroll, one travels the book in one direction then in another, discovering details of a poetic and reassuring simplicity which reminds us that even today, beauty and kindness can coexist. We are not forced to concede to cynicism that prevails in the modern world, at this peculiar time which is ours. We can open up to the other without fear."
DAYSINVICHY by Anton Renborg, has just been published by Editions Filigranes.
Author – Marie Bottin / Head of Art Buying Dpt @ CLM BBDO, Paris
Translator – Sacha Pereira da Silva