Tendance Floue at 25

Today’s e-mail from L’Oeil de la Photographie (available here on the web) is devoted to Tendance Floue, currently celebrating its 25 anniversary. As usual there are links to other features about the photographers on L’Oeil as well as the group and show web sites.

You may never have heard of Tendance Floue, particularly if you are not French, as English media in general seem seldom to pay any great attention to photography in France, or at least photography in France by a post-Magnum generation. With a few exceptions it hasn’t really been taken up by the US dealers and museums that tend to dominate the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ photography world.

Tendance Floue is a collective which has had a remarkably stable membership over the years since they were founded in 1991 by Patrick Tourneboeuf and Mat Jacob. Born in or around the 1960s, all of the twelve photographers involved when I first came across them in 2006 are in the 25th anniversary show, and there is just one addition, Alain Willaume, who rejoined them in 2010; Caty Jan is still featured although she had to give up photography after a stroke in 2003. The Paris show continues until October 17, 2015.

When I wrote about their 20th anniversary shows five years ago, I failed to find the earlier piece I had written about them, and got at least one of my facts from memory wrong. I first met them and their work when I went to an opening which was part of the 2006 Mois de la Photo, and wrote the following short note around 4 months later.

Tendance Floue
One of the shows I visited last November during the ‘Mois de la Photo’ in Paris was that of Tendance Floue (site in French*), a French photographers’ co-operative. Literally ‘Fuzzy Tendancy”, the group, founded in 1991, now has 12 members, Pascal Aimar, Thierry Ardouin, Denis Bourges, Gilles Coulon, Olivier Culmann, Mat Jacob, Caty Jan, Philippe Lopparelli, Bertrand Meunier, Meyer, Flore-Aël Surun and Patrick Tournebœuf. Their 2006 book, Sommes-Nous? has been awarded the 2007 Infinity Award for Publications.

The Paris show was held in one of the more atmospheric venues of the month, former storage cellars in the arched space under a road close to the new Bibliothèque National, in the yard of ‘Les Frigos’, where I also saw the impressive nudes of Chilean Photographer Paz Errazuriz. As well as the images on the wall, there was also a projection, allowing the work to be seen at a large scale. Some of the pictures are indeed rather unsharp, and the group as a whole obviously sets more store on producing powerfully personal statements than on technical correctness. In a group such as this there is bound to be work by some photographers that I found more interesting than others, but it is certainly worth looking at them all on the web site. My installation view was shot handheld in the darkened space and gives some idea of the way the work was hung on the curved brick vault.

*I’m pleased to find that their web site now has a full English version.

I’ve spent some time looking for the original of that installation view – and a few other pictures I took in the show, but with no success (though it is probably still on the old CDs I keep in the loft.) The thumbnail above was with the original post, where it was ‘used by permission’ of the group. But I did come across some of my more interesting pictures from that week in Paris, which perhaps I’ll come back to in another post.

But it came to me as a reminder of how photography has moved on. Without the file I can’t exactly recall the exposure but I do know the lighting was something of a challenge for the Nikon D200 I took it on by available light. I think it would have been rather easier with the D810 at higher ISO and with a greater dynamic range. Black cats in coal cellars are now hardly a problem.

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