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"Luc Delahaye Photographs: History"
2004-11-06 until 2005-02-23
Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) presents the photographic works of Luc Delahaye (French, b.1962) in Luc Delahaye Photographs: History, on view Nov. 6, 2004 through Feb. 23, 2005. The exhibition features 7 riveting, 4 x 8-foot, panoramic color prints of world events, which are a part of his ongoing series, History begun in 2001. Included in his first museum exhibition in the United States are the U.S. Bombing Of Taliban Positions (2001), Genoa G8 Summit (2001), Taliban (2001), The Milosevic Trial (2002), September 11 Memorial (2002), Iraq Press Tour (2002) and Ordinary Public Consistory (2003).
A contract photographer for Newsweek and member of the renowned photography agency Magnum Photos since 1994, Delahaye has been an award winning photojournalist recognized for his distinctive work for almost two decades. Concurrently he has enjoyed an active personal career, producing a compelling body of documentary-based work, published in six books, that gives free reign to his diverse, conceptual approach to making pictures. With his History series images, he engagingly combines interests in reportage and art photography to create richly detailed tableaux which are characterized by spare, frontal compositions that include a large amount of peripheral information often missing in close-up photojournalism pictures of news events. Delahaye has written that he seeks to make images which have “density, harmony and mystery, a certain quality that takes you and resists you at the same time.”
For the more concentrated composition in Taliban (2001), Delahaye focused his camera on the sprawled figure of a slain Taliban soldier in a ditch, capturing the smallest details of his physical condition and immediate surroundings with remarkable clarity. In an interview with Mariana Mogilevich, Delahaye discussed his approach to photographing such devastating scenes. “At the very least I want to give people a chance to see how war is. Because I am trying to give space to the pictures, to record as many things as is reasonably possible. I am using a large format camera, doing large prints and stepping back, not trying to get too close and not trying to make easy pictures with stupid sentimentality.” Other panoramas, like Iraq Press Tour (2002) and the depiction of Pope John Paul II naming a new set of cardinals in St. Peters (Ordinary Public Consistory, 2003), have an ordinary, almost forgettable quality, free from the glare and energy of world news.
“He is a keen observer, putting distance between what is seen and what is depicted in his pictures,” says Tom E. Hinson, curator of photography. “He allows the viewer to see, think about and remember these images in a different way. Delahaye’s distanced and all-encompassing panoramic views have a power, solemnity and scale reminiscent of the French 19th-century history paintings he admires in the Louvre in Paris.”
Delahaye distinguished himself as a photojournalist in the 1980s and 1990s with work in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Chechnya and Bosnia. His many recognitions include the Robert Capa Gold Medal (2002 and 1993), the Niepce award (2002), the ICP Infinity award (2001), the Oskar Barnack Award (2002), the World Press Photo (1st prizes in 2002, 1994 and 1993), the Paris Match award (1994 and 1992) and the Golden Visa Award (1993). His work has been published in Une Ville (Editions Xavier Barral, 2003); Luc Delahaye-History (Chris Boot, 2003); Winterreise (Phaidon, 2000); L’Autre (Phaidon, 1999); Mémo (Hazan, 1997); and Portraits/1 (Sommaire, 1996). Delahaye’s photographs have been featured in solo exhibitions in museums in Canada, France, Germany and The Netherlands.
The Cleveland Museum of Art receives operating support from the Ohio Arts Council and the Institute of
Museum and Library Services.