Sunday, January 24, 2016

Artisan voyeur

Inside each of us lies a voyeur, furtively glancing at a stranger, wondering what’s underneath, if not imagining stories of their life from the little details available to us. Someone stands out in a crowd — because of his expression, because of her hat, because he reminds us of an old friend, because she acts like a character from a book.

Not many of us manage to get closer and so we remain a curious observer; yet some, who are ingenious enough, cut the distance. Self-described “artisan voyeur” Luc Fournol rubbed elbows with the greatest people of his — and to some extent our — time: Louis Armstrong, Pablo Picasso, Yves Saint Laurent, Ernest Hemingway, Sophia Lauren. As a photographer he captured images of these artists outside of a studio and in their own workshops and homes. “It is the subject who interests me. The technique is secondary,” he said.

Fournol had taken black-and-white portraits of icons of the 20th century but died before he could gather them for an exhibit. Now his friend Cyril Clement, to whom he entrusted these photographs with, allows the public a viewing of his works.

A photo posted by Razel Estrella (@fishpeep) on


“Faces of the Century,” an exhibit featuring Fournol’s portraits, is this generation’s rare chance to look at Truman Capote in the eye as if he is there breathing in front of you. Or smirk at Salvador Dali, say, “What the hell is that?” as he dangles a funny thing — with eyes — in your face. Looking at Fournol’s photos is also an occasion to know artists you haven’t heard of before. Through Fournol’s lens, these celebrated men and women become less of a stranger.

—Originally published on GIST.PH

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