What Harry Gruyaert’s photograph taught me

When you first see Gruyaert’s photograph, the first impression is that they are ordinary, day-to-day photos of subjects that are not so appealing, without much inspiration. But when you look deep into these photos you are convinced that there is much more than this in these beautiful and expressive photographs.

ad0a93f6-2d37-4d47-bc9a-ea806c6c15eaa1377227-473b-49ff-8198-d7ff0823c1bdYou notice a precise, detailed composition first.
You see an incredibly combined color balance that looks like an assembly. But, it is none of this. These are scenes from everyday life, from the mundane, that although the author expressly stated that “there is no story. It’s just a question of shapes and light“, one can keep looking at these photographs for a long time and many stories come to our mind. A heavy burden of nostalgia comes to my mind.

HarryGruyaert-02HarryGruyaert-04BELGIUM. Flanders region. Town of Antwerpen. 1988. Launderette.

There is an expression in a short text on Artnet’s website that translates extremely well the meaning of Gruyaert’s photograph: “Taking cues from Pierre Bonnard and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gruyaert’s richly colored images present an idyllic harmony even in portraying destitute spaces“. (http://www.artnet.com/artists/harry-gruyaert/).

BELGIUM. Brussels. 1981. "Rue Royale".GRH81004K157BELGIUM. Flanders region. Town of Antwerpen. 1988. Launderette.HarryGruyaert-06

LensCulture in a book review by Harry Gruyaert also has an extremely suggestive and pertinent title to the work of this Belgian and Magnum photographer: “Banality Can Be Beautiful“. http://www.lensculture.com/articles/harry-gruyaert- banality-can-be-beautiful.

This same text speaks of feelings of “timeless, non-narrative epiphanies of color and contours“. I take these words because it is these indelible feelings that Gruyaert’s photograph provokes in me.

May your life be long, Monsieur Harry Gruyaert and may your photographic art continue to shine for many more years to our delight !!!

Published by Antonio Mozeto

I'm an amateur photographer based in the city of São Carlos, São Paulo state, SE Brazil. I used to make photographs since I was about 15-17 years old. My first camera was a Olympus Trip, an analogue camera. Many years after that I switched to several digital cameras. Presently I own a Nikon D500 with a small set of lenses and a Fujifilm X100T 23mm. A few years after my retirement as an university professor, after teaching Environmental Chemistry at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) for 45 years, I decided to invest money and time dedicating myself more seriously to photography. I´ve taken on-line courses as well as I´ve participated to various photography festival across Brazil. By far, my biggest interest is street photography. And in it, I'm interested in portraits, everyday street scenes and architecture.

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