September 14 – October 22, 2023
Opening : Thursday September 14
6pm – 10pm
We know Christian Poncet for his beautiful pinhole camera photographs, twice presented at Mind’s Eye in the exhibitions “Le songe des rives” (2018) and “Metropolis” (2021).
His new exhibition, “North Light”, shows us another facet of the photographer’s work. Mostly in colour, these images were taken mainly in northern France and southern England, where the colder light brings enhanced clarity and contrast. Christian Poncet’s favorite motifs – geometric framing and isolated figures or structures – are accentuated by an inspired use of color and shadow. The sea is often present as a backdrop.
Born in Lyon, Christian Poncet lives in Haute-Savoie and for the last twenty years has been photographing the surrounding lakes and mountains, all magnificent and varied landscapes that many photographers dream of. Yet, over time, these beautiful spaces have become so familiar to him that he no longer notices them, at least not with the photographer’s eye, always on the lookout for new images.
The North has always attracted him. He can’t explain it: is it the ‘monotony’ of the landscapes, flat and uniform, the changing light, or that very special atmosphere that breaks with his usual surroundings?
In 2012, he set off on a week-long journey from the Bay of the Somme to Belgium, from Cayeux-sur-mer to Ostend.
“That month of May was cool and rainy, the grey sandy beaches were deserted, with only a few solitary walkers struggling to make headway against the wind in their mackintoshes. There was nothing to encourage me to take out the camera.”
“But how could I resist the colourful, haphazard shacks of Berck-plage, its outdated white buildings or, a little further on, the seafront of Stella-plage: this dark stone “wall” facing the sea, overlooked by a vast car park and a wasteland with no future – with the only guardian being this bar-restaurant with the tempting sign “frites – gaufres – crèpes”.
Since then, he has returned to the region regularly, in spring or late summer. Little by little, the images have accumulated, and now he could turn the page, go elsewhere, discover other horizons. But no, the North awaits him, for a long time to come.
All photographs © Christian Poncet