Regard sur l’image

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- Writing with the eyes is my profession V2

,  par Hervé BERNARD dit RVB

French version

What’s matter is not what you see but the way you see it.

Writing with my eyes is my profession, and this profession is built on two pillars :

 Writing about imaging

As a “Picture Maker”, I define my style as : A composition and compositing of image elements with vivid color-mixing and multiplication, often leading to layers accumulation.

Ukiyo-e [image of the floating world]
Poster for a seminar organised by the CNRS where a part of the serie, sculpture by Hervé Bernard Scenario for Gaïa where exhibited

My work is built on combining images, layering them with both “inside” image elements and “between” image elements. “Inside” image elements relate to photomontages and are based on a fusion of photographs of materials and textures, combined by operations between layers in the same picture as in “The Holy Family” . Combining “between” images concern timelapse, polyptichs and others associations as in “Protect, survey, ban : The Holy Trinity” and “Earth’s Water Crest and Scum” and his video, and in “Variations100 – 10 Birdcalls to Realities” .

I do not attempt to make a reproduction of reality ; I rebuild reality within my images, going deeply to its roots. I anticipate reality’s future movements and changes to elaborate a world that is ours or could be ours. I try to abolish barriers between reportage and visual creation in order to raise a new perception of the world. And I try to give a new meaning to these traces of what we consider to be reality.

An image subject is not the subject and nevertheless, it is the subject ! What matters to me is not what we are looking at, but the way we are looking at it. So, as I have been photographing for more than 30 years for my presentation on Le Jardin des Tuileries (Paris), what I photograph is not always the subject. Often, the “subject” is a pretext.

© Hervé Bernard 2010

Perhaps my work presents an evocation of the Human Condition, a view of the “social animal” through images of present-day “living together”. Topics such as “Protect, survey, ban : The Holy Trinity” , PPL : Piétons, payant, livraison” (pedestrians, paying, delivery parking) indicate one direction for my work.

Another series of my images evokes the concept of place : places where people coexist, as in Le Jardin des Tuileries with the work titled “On a straight line!” and the movie titled “Empreintes/Footprints” based on this 30 years of photography in this place. Other images are about centers of population —villages and towns— and include the series “The mirror of reality” or “Earth’s water crest and scum” —about landscape and water—. This last serie is an amalgam of triptychs, panoramic photography and one video. The video titled : “One day, in Paris“ among others is about this theme.

In another series I use image to induce the audience to think about what an image is, as in the series : “Variations100 – 10 birdcalls to realities” or “Inventory - Tribute to”.... My interpretation illustration of “The Spiral”, a short story written by Italo Calvino (which describes the invention of vision by a shell, invention which leads to building all the vocabulary linked to the sense of vision) belongs to this series and I can’t deny Raymond Queneau’s influence.

However, some of my images resist any classification and belong to both series, such as my video about Medea which originated in one place : Le Jardin des Tuileries, and has become a work in progress about living together.

My series “And, if that was true... Perspectives” back from the future is an evocation of a place : a flooded town but simultaneously it is an evocation about “living together” as ”Earth’s water crest and scum” with landscapes and traces we leave there and even abandon. The video “Water etching-Water running” is, as the most part of my work, about anthropocene.

Hommage à Lee Frielander / Reward to Lee Frielander

About my pictures, some will say that through a quantity of variations and multiplications of layers they have a “Burgundy cooking” taste which I wont disregard. It’s luxurious ! Sometimes colors are too vivid for certain tastes.

If during the Renaissance the fundamental image subject was perspective, today image subjects might be content and similarity – and consideration of the extent to which image “content” looks real.

But even if I do not attempt to make a reproduction of reality, I must consider subject. And I can say there are three main themes : anthropocene, landscape and water.

Writing with the eyes is at the same time being an « image-maker » but also a text-maker. It is accepting this certitude : the camera is everything except certitude. This uncertainty is asserting photography as a fiction of reality.

My approach to image-making discussed above leads directly to my approach to image-analyzing, a natural extension of my creative approach. In my book : Regard sur l’image, I speak about the eye that looks at images and about the cultural brain that interprets them (sees them). This book win in 2016 the 8th annual edition of Le Prix de l’Académie de la Couleur.

My method of image-analysis is concerned with each transformation an image undergoes — from the moment it is captured with a camera, through each editing transformation, to the moment we are looking at it – truly seeing it with an interpretive eye.

My book (in French), including an illustrated essay prefaced by Peter Knapp, is sold on my blog (titled Regard sur l’image) and is used for teaching/study in institutions such as ENSP (Arles School of Photography), École du Fresnoy (an art school in Tourcoing, northern France), l’École des Beaux Arts (Paris) and many other educational institutions. In addition, my book is in Le Musée de l’Élysée library… And it is sold in places as Artcurial, Le Musée du Jeu de Paume (Paris) or Le Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne)...

In addition, in TK-21 La Revue I shoot and edit interviews (produced in cooperation with the philosopher Jean-Louis Poitevin) of photographers (Harry Gruyaert, Joel-Peter Witkin in english...), directors (Stan Neumann, Alain Nahum…), landscape gardener (Gilles Clément), psychoanalist (Serge Tisseron) among others.

My critical analyzes are available in my blog and in lectures delivered to.

© Hervé Bernard
All photographies made by Hervé Bernard are on is own copyright. So, you have to ask him his autorisation to use them.

 English résumé

 Excerpt from Hervé Bernard’s archives