SOMEWHERE…IN THE MIDDLE
Promenade Jacques-Cartier | Gaspé
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Bertrand Carrière, Longueuil, Québec | bertrandcarriere.com
Over the last 35 years, Bertrand Carrière has woven a photographic body of work both personal and varied.
His research focuses on two areas. First there is the documentary path that leads to landscapes, vast and intimate, and to portraits. His interest is in memory and in the history of places. From that research come images that endeavor to lend a voice to voiceless things, to things that are disappearing. Then there is another approach, more intimate, characterized by a daily practice and a readiness of the eye to glimpse the irregularities of the visible. Here he explores reality for all its autobiographical resonance.
Born in Ottawa in 1957, Bertrand Carrière lives and works in Longueuil. He teaches photography at CÉGEP André-Laurendeau in Montréal. He is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and his work has been exhibited in Québec, elsewhere in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Russia and China.
He is represented in Montreal by Galerie Simon Blais and in Toronto by the Stephen Bulger Gallery; his work is distributed by Agence VU’ in Paris. It features in numerous public and private collections, including that of Cirque du Soleil, Alcan, the Canada Council Art Bank, Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Cinémathèque Québécoise, the Loto-Québec collection, the National Gallery of Canada, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in Texas.
Bertrand Carrière’s work is also widely available in book form. He has published Témoin de l’ombre: photographies de tournage (1995), Voyage à domicile (1997), Signes de jour (2002), Hivers (2003) and Dieppe: Landscapes and Installations (2006). In 2010 Lieux mêmes appeared with Éditions L’Instant même, while Ground Level was published by Centre Sagamie. In 2011 the Musée régional de Rimouski brought out his project Après Strand. The same year, Bertrand Carrière published, with philosopher Georges Leroux, Wanderer, essai sur le Voyage d’hiver de Franz Schubert with Éditions Nota bene, which won a Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction.
In 2004, he directed 913, a documentary film about the memory of the raid on Dieppe. In 2005 he received the Prix de la création en région from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for Montérégie.
Exhibit at rencontres
SOMEWHERE…IN THE MIDDLE
Bertrand Carrière did an artist residency in France’s Loir-et-Cher region in July and September 2014 as part of the international collaboration “A Bridge over the Atlantic” between Rencontres internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie and Promenades photographiques de Vendôme 2014.
“Where is that? I’m often asked that question when people look at my pictures of some place or other. Spectators’ viewpoints at that point are bumping up against mine and comparing their expectations or accepted notions with respect to a place they think they recognize.
“Which means, to produce a photographic work on the subject of a particular place that residents might approve of is always a risky task. If photography has the ability to represent the world, it is first and foremost the vision of an individual. The challenge in my residence work then was to find that vision with regard to the places I was discovering every day. And, in Loir-et-Cher like everywhere in France, the weight of history is ubiquitous. Everything is heavy with the dust of time.
“I’m from America, I live in Québec. I didn’t grow up around châteaux or vines. So how to go about avoiding an exotic vision of la douce France? I came to Vendôme with very few ideas about what I might find there, but with a firm resolve that I might capture its essential character. There’s a wonderful madness to the idea of crossing the ocean in pursuit of pictures of something you might not know anything about. In moving around the département, I absorbed what the territory offered me. I crisscrossed that département from east to west and from north to south, using the automobile as a research compartment.
“I worked instinctively, in the absence of a precise subject, without guidelines or scenario. I let my eye plot my course. The rules invented themselves as I went along. The essential thing in my approach lay in what the present served up to me. And although it may have been guided by picture taking, my work was also largely built, secondly, through the construction of sequences of images.
“With a bias in favor of color and verticality, I photographed the countryside, often the architecture, and did a few portraits. I endeavored to lend a voice to voiceless things, to what is slowly disappearing. It’s in that sense that I wanted this residency to be a true creation laboratory, concentrated on the territory, on the discoveries that every day brings. I explored the maps, sought out fragments of history, questioned those I met along the way, delved through the folds of the countryside, walked along the riverbank, waited for the light, found the distance, explored churches and châteaux, wondered at the flat horizon and plumbed the storm-laden skies. I wanted these photographs to be marked by the seal of this human experience of the journey.
“To the extent that I worked on what I found, the here and the now, I constructed little fictions, creating narratives after the fact that form a connection among pictures from very different situations and places. That work of narration endeavors to convey the tone and the atmosphere that I encountered in the département, more than merely describing it. Those unexpected encounters tend to accentuate the ambiguity of the images. And it is often these ambiguities, this non-descriptiveness of the image that attract me – its poetic and uncertain aspect.
“I would like to thank the Conseil des arts de Longueuil for its support for this project. ”
October 13, 2014