All in the joy of reconnecting with the effervescence of the great days which draw the success of the Parisian fair, it is also necessary to note, for this year of recovery, the photographic campaign of Olivier Culmann commissioned by Pernod-Ricard and exhibited this year in within the framework of Paris-Photo *.
→ TESTIMONIAL. “Coffee is the model which governs the most conviviality”
For this return to life before Covid, the photographer took an interest in the world of cafes that weave social ties in the countryside and cities of France. Conviviality, the word is out, is at the heart of this work and the meaning is not in vain for those who have been able, despite the pandemic, to bring to life again spaces for meetings and exchanges across the French territory.
And when Olivier Culmann takes up the subject, we can be sure that he will know how to take the measure of what is at stake in his own way.
In four weeks he traveled the roads of France, from Marseille to Fercé-sur-Sarthe and from Baigneux-les-Juifs to Strasbourg, to meet and photograph the 87 men, women, of different ages, origins or conditions. and even more the actors of the project to obtain a bluffing result of liveliness.
With both feet firmly anchored in reality, he has chosen to decline the universe of these cafes in several series: the photo booth which gives way to the game, the group photos whose color uniformity evokes sports teams, the facades to the old one, the postcards with the coat of arms of the city, up to the series of glasses, a magnificent allegorical figure of passing time: so many markers of an ordinary photograph that challenge our collective imagination.
Smart and efficient images
The play of popular and vernacular images that Olivier Culmann claims once again reveals the photographer’s incessant questioning of the codes of representation. We then think of Others, his wonderful work on societal and identity codes in India a few years ago. It achieves its objective by this in series and succeeds in treating the vitality of people, localities, territories that have been recorded, despite the isolation effects of the pandemic, a kind of conviviality generated around coffee.
Between the past confinement and an electoral campaign that promises to be a little stifling, the work of Olivier Culmann is timely. Intelligent and efficient, his images give smile and air to our neurons because, even if the term was once overused, it is also a beautiful demonstration that men and women, here and there, everywhere in France, maintain beautiful ways of living together.
Part of this work accompanies the Identity sequence to be found in the pages of the journal The cross from next week.