Centre Pompidou : Gaston Paris : Images on clearly show

Gaston Paris (1905-1964), a gifted photographer and assiduous who was frequently revealed, notably in VU magazine, stays largely unfamiliar. A virtuoso technician and ingenious observer, he and his peers catered to the visible appetite of the 1930s. The exhibition entitled “Gaston Paris“. “Photography on show“ invitations us to rediscover the value of this photographer who was undeniably influenced by Surrealism and the “social fantasy“ of his working day. The exhibition also assessments the distinct supports for pictures: it offers some fifty period of time prints, 20-five thematic plates illustrated with get hold of prints, fifty reproductions from journals, more than a single hundred late prints designed in the 1960s and 1970s, with the projection of somehundred digitised negatives.

From new music corridor ladies to the young children of the popular Paris “zones“, together with the aerodynamic wind tunnel at Meudon, Gaston Paris documented the shows and modernity of the 1930s with simplicity and professionalism, generating his Rolleiflex camera’s square structure a prosperous catalogue of forms and signs for the editors of illustrated magazines. In this sense, the exhibition sheds light on the nascent observe of photojournalism, particularly on some of the key subjects favoured at the time. It provides the exemplary career of a reporter who, while continuing to perform for VU, contributed to magazines as varied as La Rampe (on theatre, film, the creative scene), Paris Magazine (with an erotic tendency), Match (reportages on sport in the early times, then progressively on political subjects).

In 1940, he contributed, like other French photographers, to the magazine La Semaine, managed by the Vichy authorities, to reappear later on as a witness to the Liberation of Paris and then of a destroyed Germany, where he accompanied the French troops.

Gaston Paris under no circumstances revealed a book for the duration of his life time. In 1952, he tried using to publish Les Mystères de Paris, a range of pictures collected in a book, but the task did not do well. The time was no more time ripe for the graphic of a mysterious and obscure Paris, but of a metropolis imbued with a gentle existential melancholy. This failure embodies the tragedy of Gaston Paris’ artistic occupation: he arrived too late in comparison to his fellow reporters who preceded him with their official innovations, but much too early in comparison to a write-up-war era whose vocabulary he did not share the humanist vocabulary.

For a lot more than twenty a long time, pictures historian Michel Frizot, collected several documents and works by Gaston Paris. The Kandinsky Library, to which his assortment of printed paperwork and periodicals was donated, now preserves a massive quantity of difficulties of VU. This collection of period originals was completed by the Gaston Paris assortment from the Roger-Viollet archives, which been given some 15,000 of the photographer’s negatives next his demise in 1964. These collections add to a much better comprehension of an period divided involving the glare of the phase lights and the spotlights of the 1940s curfews. Visual culture was as substantially a portion of the modernity of those years as the frenzy of the demonstrates, as the title of the exhibition and its catalogue, “Photography on show“, underlines.

“Gaston Paris. Photograpy on show“ is section of a collection of exhibitions organised by the photography office of the Centre Pompidou, offering a new glance at pictures in the 1930s, partly produced feasible by the unparalleled acquisition of around 7,000 photographic prints from the Christian Bouqueret collection in 2011. Amongst them, the good “Henri Cartier-Bresson“ (2014) retrospective which dealt, amid other items, with his political dedication, and the thematic exhibition entitled “Photographie, arme de classe“ (Photography, a class weapon, 2018), and shortly in autumn 2022, the exhibition “Décadrage colonial“.



Michel Frizot, historian of photography, Florian Ebner, curator and head of the division of pictures, Centre Pompidou, assisted by Katharina Täschner, fellow of the Krupp Basis, Germany.

A cooperation in between the Centre Pompidou, section of images, and the Bibliothèque historique de la Ville de Paris.


Gaston Paris Photography on show
19 January – 18 April 2022
The Centre Pompidou


Publication :
Gaston Paris Pictures on present
Catalogue of the exhibition
-Michel Frizot, historian of images and curator of the exhibition
– Delphine Desveaux, director of the of the Roger-Viollet collections
Complex sheet
Paper-backed, 19,5 x 27 cm
256 webpages
About 300 photos and files B&W and colour
ISBN : 978-2-36511-288-8
Public value : 45 € TTC

In co-publication with the Centre Pompidou