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Don’t Forget Me

Artist and collector Jean-Marie Donat presents a selection of photographs from Studio Rex, a photo studio in Marseille that mostly served newly arrived immigrants, at the moment when they had just left their countries behind.

Situated between the station and the port of Marseille in the district of Belsunce, the family-run studio, closed in 2018, used to be one of the first points of passage of people landing in France from North Africa, mostly Algeria, from sub-Saharan Africa and the Comoros. Ten years ago Jean-Marie Donat came into possession of tens of thousands of images, part of its archive.

Unknown. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Grégoire Keussayan. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Unknown. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Unknown. Photomontage. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Nostalgic yet full of expectation, the images, negatives and studio photographs taken between 1966 and 1985 and wallet prints that survived the journey through the Mediterranean used by the studio to make montages, constitute a bridge between the clients’ country of origin and France. “Faces are serious, attitudes formal, clothes European, signaling the drop of a new anchor”, writes the curator.

Unknown. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Unknown. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Unknown. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection.

Grégoire Keussayan. Courtesy of Jean-Marie Donat Collection

The exhibition “Ne m’oublie pas”, curated by Jean-Marie Donat, is exhibited at the Croisière in Arles, part of the program of Les Rencontres de la Photographie, until September 24. The book "Ne m'oublie pas" is published by Delpire & Co and available

here for 49€.

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