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Emmet Gowin at HCB Foundation

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Emmet Gowin at HCB Foundation

Once again, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson invites photography lovers to discover yet another universe, this time that of a prolific American photographer Emmet Gowin. Entitled simply “Emmet Gowin”, the exhibit presents a collection of photographs covering all the main themes of his life that he continued exploring for decades: his beloved wife, the intimacy of their everyday life, as well as aerial and landscape photographs.

One of the most original and influential American photographers of the past 40 years, Emmet Gowin is known for his poetic and profound approach to photography, as well as for his search of perfection. As a photography professor at Princeton University for over 30 years, Gowin has influenced several generations of photographers. His refined mastery of silver printing also made him one of the best photo developers of all times. Nevertheless, it is not only the immaculate quality of his black-and-white silver prints that is so special about his works, but also their simplicity and intimacy, their unique sensitivity and insightfulness.

Gowin started his career in the 60s from photographing his wife Edith, his lifelong muse that inspired him for decades. The show presents many portraits of her, silently changing, however remaining timeless. Her everyday life and that of their extended family is being portrayed without any detachment from nature, where nakedness is poetic and is a natural state of being. One may notice that there are no smiles on any of the portraits, whether those of Edith, her children or other family members, leaving only intense gaze and pure presence. "For me, pictures provide a means of holding, intensely, a moment of communication between one human and another,” explains Gowin.

In the 80s, Gowin’s attention gradually turns from his family life onto landscape and aerial photography. Images of garden in winter, views of seemingly abandoned ancient cities of Italy, mysterious temples of Petra and immensity of vast American landscapes devastated by nuclear tests become his center of interest. His aerial photographs surprise the viewer by their aesthetics and abstractness, however, still retaining their descriptive character.

“From the beginning I wanted to make pictures so potent that I would not need to say anything about them", once said Gowin. In this exhibit, the body of work presented speaks for itself. These photographs speak in a low and intimate voice, so one has to come closer and listen to them. Then one will hear poetry.

  • Until:

    Saturday, 26 July 2014

  • Venue Details:

    Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
    2 impasse Lebouis, 75014 Paris
    Metro Gaîté (line 13) or Edgar Quinet (line 6)

    Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 1 pm to 6:30 pm, Saturday from 11 am to 6:45 pm
    Free access on Wednesday from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
    Closed on Mondays
  • Emmet Gowin at HCB Foundation
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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.