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Indepth Arts News:

"Two French Masters: Edouard Boubat and Jean-Philippe Charbonnier"
2006-08-13 until 2006-09-30
Duncan Miller Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

Imagine post-World War II Europe: Rather than focus on the horrors to humanity, imagine choosing to celebrate life, joy, and passion. That's exactly what two French photographers, Edouard Boubat and Jean-Philippe Charbonnier, chose to do with their photography. The result is a sheer delight to the soul. With an exhibit running from August 15 to October 1, the Duncan Miller Gallery will give Los Angeles a taste of the sensuous and romantic photography from these two "French Masters." The exhibit's opening reception will be held Friday August 18, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

Édouard Boubat is considered France's most famous romantic photographer. He began to photograph in earnest after World War II. As such, his approach was deeply affected by what he had seen and experienced: "Because I know war… because I know the horror, I don't want to add to it.… After the war, we felt the need to celebrate life, and for me photography was the means to achieve this." Spanning a 50 year career, Boubat's photographs do just that. They celebrate the beauty, simplicity, and little things in life. His first photograph was taken in the Jardin du Luxembourg in 1946, "Little Girl with Dead Leaves," which won him the Kodak Prize, an amazing start to a remarkable career.

Jean-Philippe Charbonnier's photography was also born of post-World War II Europe. In 1950, he went to work as a photojournalist for the renowned Realités magazine, where he often collaborated with Édouard Boubat who was also on staff. Charbonnier left Realités in July 1974, disillusioned with "standardization" he felt had come to dominate the world of photography. Freed from the anguish of ordered work, Charbonnier began to explore his nearby surroundings in Paris - capturing scenes from the neighborhood of Notre Dame with subjects that defined the Parisian allure. In regards to these images, he said," I photographed all these people, not always without cruelty, certainly, but with an impassioned interest, with a lucid tenderness."

"Both these artists used photography as a means to meet his fellow man and to reveal humanity in all its poetry and pathos," said Daniel Miller, founder and owner of the Duncan Miller Gallery. "As heirs to Henri Cartier-Bresson's 'decisive moment' photography, both artists capture moments in a fraction of a second and simultaneously provide meaningful context to their images. As you look at the photographs throughout the collection, you'll be impressed by the fleeting, magical moments that cover the walls, and that could only be suspended and frozen in time by the confident eyes of true masters."

Robert Doisneau, another of France's prolific reportage photographers, said of Boubat's work: "One must look-and I mean really look-at his images and breathe them in deeply as one would fresh air from an open window. Their radiance gives such a sense of well-being that afterwards you will, I hope, no longer see the world or people in the same way."

Charbonnier's life-long friend, Michel Kempf said of his work: "In a life of world tours, meetings with an entire generation of celebrities and meetings with just as many others torn from their anonymity in the 60th of a second that an exposure lasts, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier did not just take his pictures, he also told thousands upon thousands of stories."

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