Paris, Homage to
Place de l’hôtel de ville, Paris 2004 © Gamma-Rapho
Femme se rafraichissant sous les brumisateurs, Paris 2005 © Gamma-Rapho
Piscine sur seine, Paris 2004 © Gamma-Rapho
Les amoureux, Paris 2003 © Gamma-Rapho
Petite fille sous les brumisateurs, Paris 2008 © Gamma-Rapho
Quai de seine, Paris 2010 © Gamma-Rapho
From July 2nd through August 31st, the Parisian Library Claude Levy Strauss exposes black and white photographs by Elise Hardy.
I remember the first time I met Elise Hardy, the year she entered Rapho agency, in 1992. The agency was in its historical offices, on the Rue d’Alger in the 1st district in Paris, a small street perpendicular to Rue de Rivoli, near the Jardin des Tuileries.
We entered through the porch, and inside of a wooden elevator, with its glass cage and iron doors… The town-planning rules had not yet destroyed the monuments. We would knock on the door of an ordinary Parisian apartment and, immediately after entering to the right we would discover a beautiful smile on a charming face framed by brown hair.
At that time, I would have regular lunches with Mark Grosset who co-ran the agency together with his sister Kathleen. He told me that Elise was a photographer who had talent, and had her feet on the ground. This last quality allowed him to accept her to work part-time as a receptionist, reorganizing slides and prints being returned from magazines, as well as other multiple tasks that the young computer generation of today no longer knows.
But through organizing, labeling and stamping other people’s photographs, like Doisneau, Boubat, Ronis, Freud, Michaud, Silvester… one learns!
Before being on rue d’Alger, Elise Hardy came from Château-Thierry in the Aisne region, where she was born in 1962. After her art and sculpture studies in Fine Arts in Paris, she traveled to North Africa and Asia…
Evidently, necessary work, Elise Hardy photographed Paris, her city. In her images we find the traces of that humanist photographer that made a reknowned photographer of Rapho. Photographs also filled with poetry. Images where Elise plays not only with the photographed object, but also with the audience. There is a discrete humor in her images. A way to photograph without touching, filled with respect and love. Love and freshness of view.
Elise Hardy often exhibits and sells her pictures. She is regularly published in magazines and in books, but modestly, obstinately and faithfully, after all the Rapho / Eyedea quirks, she has worked out a way to continue as an editor for François Lochon’s new Gamma-Rapho, all the while continuing with her personal work.
Paris en Seine, exposition photographique d’Elise Hardy
Through August 31
Bibliothèque Claude Lévi-Strauss
41, rue Flandre