Philippe Gabel is a self-taught photographer, a Parisian and a traveller. He divides his time between Paris and the Morvan region of Burgundy and has developed an approach to photography centred on people, whom he likes to show in settings photographed as social theatre. From people on the street in Paris (Les silences de la rue, exhibited in Paris, then at the Théatre du Soleil and the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 2008), to those in a passageway in Marrakech (Passages, 2005, projected exhibition).
It is often said of the photograph that it fixes an instant forever, that it stops time and freezes a moment of life. But here, as I lost myself in the procession of Philippe’s photos, what struck me instead was this backwash of moments. Sitting before the slide show in the half-light of this cabin, I had the impression of being immersed in a plurality of lives, in a swirl of moments. I saw time at work, a scene taking place before our eyes – as if the ‘before’ was still alive with its discernible stigmata, the ‘after’ left to our imagination. Far from being a fixity, it is a ‘present’ in motion that is visible and, moreover, one that allows itself to be seen. This time, this movement that emanates from these photos, is life itself!
From a print, be it a photographic print or a digital image, a profundity emerges, a relationship between the subject or subjects and Philippe. The inexpressible transcends and creates movement, that impression of plunging into a ‘before’ that endures here and now, at the very moment of the observer’s viewing.
From “The day after tomorrow, tomorrow will be yesterday” there resonates, in mirror image, the sensation that the day before yesterday is in its own future a today. This is how Philippe’s photos are a ‘today’, a ‘present’ that seems to be in motion and that echoes yesterday, the time when he pressed his finger so that that moment would live on. And it still does so!
Solo exhibitions at Mind’s Eye / Galerie Adrian Bondy
Group exhibitions at Mind’s Eye / Galerie Adrian Bondy