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 !!!

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