Girard is one of France’s most important living photographers (L’Oeil). I was drawn to look into his work by his images and the commentary in Street Photography Now. Girard describes himself:
I am not a reporter. I prefer indefinite situations. My aim is to photograph the simple reality of things with both distance and empathy.
Girard’s photography appears carefully considered and composed using a medium-format camera (no shooting from the hip street photography here!). He works mostly in colour. His street photography gives us a view of a scene at a respectful distance; there are no close-up shots of strangers. The photos have a sense of calm and indeed show a version of reality that we might experience when walking in one of his spaces. They do not show extreme subjects or express irony just, as he puts it, simple reality.
His work Intelligent Landscapes and Blat’s excellent narrative provide further insight – there is nothing very decisive about the work but it show spaces for contemplation. They capture the spirit of the place and do not attempt to be sensational or present an aesthetic of beauty.
The idea of showing the ‘spirit’ of a place is an interesting perspective when often images of landscapes focus on the picturesque or spectacular.
Blat A. L’Oeil De La Photographie (2015) [website]. Charlottesville: Intelligent Landscapes by Thierry Girard at the University of Virginia. Available from: http://www.loeildelaphotographie.com/2015/04/27/article/27865/charlottesville-intelligent-landscapes-by-thierry-girard-at-the-university-of-virginia/ [accessed 12.11.15]
Howarth S and McLaren S (2010). Street photography now. Paperback ed. London: Thames & Hudson.