This exhibition presents recent work by French photographer Luc
Delahaye. Initiated in 2001, this series of large-scale photographs
features significant recent events ranging from political
demonstrations to natural disasters and evidence of war and genocides.
While these subjects are known through the media, Delahaye's images
propose a different view of them.
For more than two decades, Delahaye has photographed world events. As a photojournalist working for magazines such as Newsweek
he has specialized in war photography, for which he has received
numerous awards. Concurrently he has explored documentary-style
photography in personal projects, which led him to this current series.
Delahaye's work describes well known events from a perspective
different from the one we have become accustomed to in newspapers, on
television, and on the Internet.
Delahaye's choice of subjects reveals an interest in the "ordinary."
Unlike the sensational representation of international news, his
photographs establish a bold visual record of the long-term
implications of current events that go well beyond their initial
moments in the headlines. Delahaye records the continuity of human experience, as in this group
of displaced women surrounding an official representative as they
attempt to register to receive aid in a refugee camp in eastern Chad.
Using a large or medium-format camera, Delahaye
records each scene with detail and accuracy. Taken from a distant point
of view, the Palestine Hotel extends the field of vision to provide
context beyond our usual perceptions. While the direct nature of Delahaye's photographs, the detachment, and
the rich details that emerge from them relate to documentary-style
photography, their nearly life-size dimensions and their narrative
power evoke the tradition of 18th- and 19th- century European painting.
By photographing seemingly mundane meetings, Delahaye provides unusual
access to the working process of influential institutions such as the
United Nations and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
Delahaye sometimes combines elements from different
shots taken at the same event to create a more powerful rendering of
the scene, as in this composition of an intense, active group of
journalists at the 132nd Ordinary Meeting of the Conference. The chaotic backdrop contrasts with the official formality of the OPEC members seated along the table.
By positioning himself at eye level or above,
Delahaye engages viewers as direct observers. His images appear to be
momentarily halted theatrical performances that are open to our
participation. Their dramatic scale emphasizes the fullness and
complexity of the events depicted and also gives us the opportunity to
examine their details. Such pictures make us question our ability to comprehend the image, and
images in general. Ultimately, the cool lyricism of Delahaye's
photographs urges us to reflect upon the relationships among art,
history, and information.
Delahaye's photographs in this exhibition are much larger than
traditional photographs—some are as big as 8 to 10 feet wide. This view
of the gallery where the photographs are on display illustrates the
life-size scale of the work.