Ten years ago the Boutographies occupied the Pavillon Populaire for the first time, after a propitious infancy in the quarter that gave name to the manifestation: Boutonnet. That was in May 2008, forty years after another May, that of ’68, and this authorised « occupation » of the Pavillon Populaire by a small group of intrepid enthusiasts had some of the same aura of an assault on a cultural institution’s territory. The sensation was improbable and a touch utopic, but it was now up to us to make good this immoderate gamble: fill the Pavillion with our own selection, and produce the festival in the very heart of the town with a team that could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Since then, many billions of photographs have inundated the planet, threatening to submerge us completely. But we are still here, with a kind of meticulous obstinacy, choosing those particular images that we want to show you against all odds. What could justify such a fixation, other than our need to occupy our long winter evenings and to continue to make photography the pretext for encounters and debates, if not our wonder at the infinite capacity of our fellow beings to reveal images that existed before only in our dreams, or in our own questionings?

Some of the photographers who we are exhibiting this year seem to have taken heed of the plethora of photographic images, to the point of forgoing the production of new ones. Their work is based on the re-use of existing images, whether they be old ones that they own or those in free circulation under various guises, such as family memories, scientific proofs, propaganda, etc. Others, and sometimes the same, have abandoned the use of colour. In this they reflect a strong tendency, observed among the hundreds of dossiers received this year. As if black and white served to re-legitimise the memorial function of photography; its temporal consistency and its longevity. But what is reflected in the totality of the works, independently of technical or historical contingencies, is once again a question fundamentally human and irremediably associated with images: that of belief. As if to remind us that photography, despite its extreme prevalence, continues to touch at what matters to us: what need is there to believe? Is there a necessity to escape from belief? In a country so little inclined to the religious as France, beliefs have often looked for substitute idols. The enormous pagan fête of July 1998 furnished several, but Cédric Calandraud’s images of it retain a flavour of disenchantment when he exhumes them twenty years later. At the other end of the spectrum, the Japanese nature gods of Sandrine Elberg and the beings that walk on water by Philippe Leroux invite us to reflect on what lies beyond the visible, on what is accessible to reason. Between the two, the auto-fictions of Lee-Marie Sadek or of Hanna Rast confront us with what is missing, with that which remains elusive, indecisive, and which obliges us each day to rebuild our confidence in what can take place and hold firm, and thus impel us further.

Twenty eight European talents have been selected for you by the jury 2018*. They await you here, in all their diversity, but all with the same determination to expose to your regard what matters to them, over and above words. Other exhibitions are disseminated around the town, in the numerous venues of our partnersHors-les-Murs.Don’t hesitate to make the effort to seek them out; you won’t regret it. Welcome, then, to the 18thBoutographies, a world of images open to all.


On behalf of the Boutographies team
Christian Maccotta, artistic director

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