Images of Intimacy
Les planches à Trouville, 1910 Collection of the musuem Nicéphore Niépce
Etats-Unis, c.1930 Collection du musée Nicéphore Niépce
France (Auxois, région of Semur ), 1940-1944 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
France, 1930-1950 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
France, 1890-1912 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
People's Republic of China, c.1960 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
Russia (ex. URSS) Pioneer camp, around Léningrad, 1937 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
Russia (ex. URSS), 1937-1940 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
Bally family , France, c.1900 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
France, 1956-1968 Collection of the museum Nicéphore Niépce
Each summer, the Museum Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon sur Saône has taken on the habit of presenting an exhibition that revisits the history of photography off the beaten track.
This year, François Cheval (chief curator of the Museum) looked into « Les Albums de famille, les images de l’intime » (Family Albums, images of intimacy), the title of one of the exhibitions presented from June 18th until September 18th 2011. To think that « modernity is the rediscovery of the past » if we believe in the incursions towards these themes in France and around the world.
The first photographic family albums date back to 1860, they reinforce their passion for « high society » for the « portrait – business card » that they would insert in albums pre-cut. Little by little the family would be grouped together and would become the « minature version and portable of ancestral galleries reserved for the aristocracy up until the advent of photography. » Then the album would become a game of society and appearances. And yet, as the curators of the exhibition would emphasize (François Cheval, Christelle Rochette, Anne-Céline Besson, Carole Cieslar, Caroline Lossant et Emmanuelle Vieillard), « just as the photographs they contain, the family albums are insignificant objects. We expect without surprise to find archetypical images of family life : births, parties, and why not a few trips… Their study however reveals the protean aspect that covers up the creation of the album, from the choice of the images to their placement on the page and the rhythm of the narration.” For several years, the Niépce Museum has been interested in these albums and this exhibition just made the research a reality on these “polymorphic objects” above and beyond their original function, to try to delve into the secrets of these “intimate images.” The family albums tell the story of their author and of his close entourage without worries of preservation or transmitting the memory.
The exhibition shows us equally that family albums are not just expressions of western societies. If their goals remain identical, we could make the observation that each civilisation brought to them their own culture, notably through the graphical page layout and the imaginary.
Albums de famille, les images de l’intime (“Family Albums, Images of Intimacy”)
18 June – 18 September
Musée Nicéphore Niépce
28 quai des Messageries
71100 Chalon – sur – Saône
+33 (0)3 85 48 41 98
Open everyday except Tuesdays
9:30 am – 11:45 am
2 pm – 5 pm
July/August 10 am – 6 pm