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Perspectives: Scrutinizing Photography

Perspectives: Scrutinizing Photography

A venue devoted to photography in all its forms and uses, the Institute for Photography, located in Vieux-Lille, was initiated in September 2017 by the Hauts-de-France Region with the collaboration of the Rencontres d´Arles photography festival. The Institute aims to be a place of resources, dissemination, dialogue and experimentation. Before construction begins in 2022, the Institute is presenting a program entitled “Perspectives” around ten free exhibitions set up both in its space and off-site, around vernacular photography, family photography and more contemporary creations. Four of these exhibitions stand out.

Série Pourquoi m’as-tu abandonnée, Elisabeth Berkley in a coucou’s nest, Los Angeles, 1996 © Bettina Rheims, fonds Bettina


Agnès Up Close

Sel, 1951 © Succession Agnès Varda, Collection Rosalie Varda

In June of 1954, Agnès Varda inaugurated her first photography exhibition at 86 rue Daguerre, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, in what would become her laboratory-home and a mythical place in the history of the New Wave cinema. Among the friends and neighbors who attended the event were CalderHartung and Brassaï. Posed portraits, daring portraits, composed portraits: the images were a foray into the world of Agnès Varda, mixing reality and fiction. The Institute has reconstructed this exhibition and supplemented it with previously unpublished contact sheets and prints that shed light on the production context of her first personal and private event. We all know Agnès Varda the filmmaker and visual artist, but most of us aren’t as familiar with Varda the photographer, who once told journalist Vincent Raymond: “I was a bit of a photographer, but stupidly, I never released a photo book. I should do that some day. For me, photography is a beautiful mystery: what happens just before and right after a snapshot? And a film is made of thousands of photographs… “


Iconic Bettina Rheims

Série Pourquoi m’as-tu abandonnée, Madonna lying on the floor of the red room 1, New York, 1994 © Bettina Rheims, fonds Bettina Rheims, Fonds de dotation Institut pour la photographie

In her studio located in the heart of the Marais neighborhood in Paris (of which the Institute for Photography offers a virtual tour), Bettina Rheims used to photograph, retouch and archive her images. While the photographer donated her entire collection to the Institute of Photography, three emblematic projects of her career will be presented. The first is “Inmates,” made up of 50 portraits of imprisoned women, taken in 2014, which the photographer considers to be a manifesto. “It’s showing what you don’t want to see, what you don’t look at.” The series “La Chapelle” was developed in 2018 and depicts the dark underbelly of L.A.; and lastly, “Rose is Paris”, produced in 2010, in which, through the fictional life of a young woman, Rheims shoots a series of scenes like live paintings. For this last series, the curators (and the photographer) propose to put the Rheims archives in perspective with the last images of her personal project, an important milestone in her career.

Vannessa Bareck, Détenues, 2014 © Bettina Rheims, fonds Bettina Rheims, Fonds de dotation Institut pour la photographie


The Empathy of Jean-Louis Schoellkopf

La Ricamarie, Mineurs, 1984 © Jean Louis Schellkopf

For more than fifty years, Jean-Louis Schoellkopf has been taking photographs in large and medium format cameras, often on a tripod, with a long exposure time and  limiting his shoots to a few shots. Using a documentary approach, Schoellkopf has focused on the end of the industrial era, working-class culture and the transformations of the urban landscape. His portraits all follow the same protocol: he photographs his subjects in their own environment – work or home – and lets them pose the way they want. His body of work reflects an artistic approach that combines empathy for his subjects and a keen eye. This first exhibition offers a selection of personal and commissioned works devoted to portraiture and urban planning, including the installation he presented at Documenta X in Cassel in 1997.

Vénissieux, Vaulx en Velin, 1983 © Jean Louis Schoellkopf


370 Nadine Catry

370 photographs of Nadine Catry, a young Belgian girl. 370 photographs in which the first 27 years of her life unfold, starting with her birth in 1926. This exhibition comes from the collection of Nadine and Paul Catry. For the past ten years, they have been collecting anonymous prints on various subjects and from various periods. The exhibition presents the reconstruction of a chronological frieze of the life of Nadine Catry and includes the annotations found on the back of the photographs. Some images have been isolated, collected and completed with other more recent prints from the collection of Nadine and Paul Catry, in order to highlight the peculiarities of this personal story, and to contextualize this individual approach in relation to the history of amateur instant photography. The exhibition is also participatory and invites the public to enrich this collective investigation.

By Sabyl Ghoussoub

Born in Paris in 1988 into a Lebanese family, Sabyl Ghoussoub is a writer, columnist and curator. His second novel, Beyrouth entre parenthèses [Beirut in Parentheses] was released by Antilope editions in August 2020.

“Perspectives”, through December 5, 2021, Institut pour la photographie, 11 Rue de Thionville, 59000 Lille.

Mardi Gras, 1953 © Succession Agnès Varda Collection Rosalie Varda
Lu, Détenues, 2014 © Bettina Rheims, Fonds de dotation Institut pour la photographie
Vénissieux, Vaulx en Velin, 1984 © Jean Louis Schoellkopf

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