/18 Family

Julien Magre


Julien Magre reveals a part of his life, that which he has built and rebuilt through his camera lens. He photographs Caroline, his lifelong companion, and his daughters Suzanne and Louise, capturing his daily life and making it poetic. The pictures are moments of a life, snatched from time, stolen from a distracted life. Only bits and pieces are left, small pieces of tenderness, the context of a smile or a look.

These captured moments form images, which are often an expression of in-between moments or hiatus. Many of these pictures focus on these borderline states between waking and sleep, in which bodies unwind and forget themselves. That is when the father or the lover – like an attentive watchman – decides to press the release button: reclining bodies, asleep or meditative, naked or dishevelled, that offer themselves in their simple life form, parts of bodies too, caught in rumpled sheets. The poetry lies in these ephemeral moments that need to be conveyed. It is also about showing the boundless moments of childhood: children will grow up, fairness will fade, but in the end, images persist. Childhood is in action, at stake, in each look and smile. However, one should not be mistaken about the nature of such images and believe that they are part of a simple family album in which a photograph is an essential phase and fundamentally social. In fact, Magre cuts across the codes of family albums in its sociological sense such as it is given by Pierre Bourdieu in A Middle-Brow Art. The series must be understood as a whole: it is between the images that time slips away, it is between the images that tenderness becomes global. There are no anecdotes, but rather the construction and the incomplete assembly of a life.

There is an omnipresent figure in this documented life, that of Caroline, the woman who gives name to the series. It is surprising that she appears both serious and kind at the same time : whether she faces the camera directly or avoids it, whether she appears in a mirror or at the edge of the frame, she remains silent. She seems to want to keep a certain intimacy hidden, an intimacy that will end up being revealed despite herself. She is an actress in her own life. She is present physically and her implacable presence shines in every image. These images are a declaration of love to this beloved face.

Text: Léa Bismuth