How do photographers look at a city, a territory, and its inhabitants? How can the identity of a place be constantly reinvented? This is the exploration that the festival Planches Contact has been leading for several years now. Its 12th edition, directed by artistic director Laura Serani and staged by Bruno Moinard, confirms more than ever the singularity of this festival, whose theme is the exploration and restitution of all that constitutes the identity factors of a city and the surrounding territory. The exhibitions are conceived from new productions of the photographers and in resonance with the environment, the landscapes and the spaces of Deauville and its surroundings. “Fictive, sentimental, literary, impossible or real, these photographic journeys will trace an imaginary cartography of Normandy” says Laura Serani.
Seven photographers and groups of photographers remarked during the residencies organized by the festival, each one with its own sensitivity. Photographer Anne-Lise Broyer transports us with her essay on Normandy. She speaks here of “Normandy as a place of writing, of drawing a line that links books together, moments of life that have little in common except a territory and the fact that they constitute for (her) a real awakening to the world both literary and political.” The photographer Antoine d’Agata, for his part, between two trips to Mexico, came several times during the winter to discover Normandy under curfew and thus drew his cartography of the region based on significant historical facts and his experience of the territory. Also on view are images by photographers Baudouin Mouanda, Joan Fontcuberta, Pilar Rosado, SMITH and the Riverboom collective, who return this year with a poetic work that combines performance, calligraphy and the endless search for time, created in the most symbolic place in Deauville, that part of the beach that is only visible for a few hours a day. The Anonymous Project, a collection of 20th century amateur color photographs founded by Lee Shulman, was also invited to select a series of joyful, amusing or playful images.
In addition to these invited photographers, the Prix Tremplin Jeunes Talents Planches Contact, whose jury is presided over by Sarah Moon, selected four talents who benefited from a creative residency of several weeks in Deauville: Teo Becher, Celine Croze, Alisa Martynova and Antoine Lecharny, whose black-and-white series, taken on a train in a succession of round trips between Deauville and Paris, captures the landscape offered to travelers from her window. For the second year of the partnership with the photo4food foundation, five artists, Pierre-Elie de Pibrac, FLORE, Costanza Gastaldi and Caimi&Piccinni exhibit on the beach of Deauville a new photographic work, also produced in residence for the festival. Through numerous references to cinema, a personal narrative or a re-imagined territory, the Normandy coast is reinvented full of poetry through the series of photographers. The proceeds from the sale of these photographs will be donated to a local charity selected by the Foundation in conjunction with the City of Deauville. “The Foundation’s goal is to put art at the service of others. This initiative is the very essence of our raison d’être: to fight poverty through the sale of photographs and to repay the generosity of our photographers by giving them a unique exhibition,” say Virginie and Olivier Goy, founders of photo4food.
Already part of the festival’s DNA, giant and outdoor exhibitions are favored and offer a glimpse of the complexity and richness of the contemporary photography scene. After Martin Parr’s New Brighton in the 2020 edition, the festival is inviting Joel Meyerowitz’s Cape Cod to its beach this time. Deauville, the capital of American cinema, had to pay homage to the master of American photography, Meyerowitz, this New Yorker who frequented Cape Cod in the summer, the counterpart on the American east coast to Deauville on the French west coast.
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.
Planches Contact, 11th Edition of the Deauville Photography Festival. From October 23, to January 2, 2022. Artistic Director : Laura Serani.