zaterdag 12 april 2008

William Klein & the French Goddess Citroën DS 19 Photography

Unanimite. Photographs by William Klein. Société Anonyme André Citroën/Delpire Publicité, Paris, n.d. (c. 1968) 20 pp. Stiff wrappers. Saddle stitched. Additional printed promotional card laid in. Color photographs.
Citroën--producers of among the most avant-garde auto designs ever marketed on a mainstream basis--always prided itself on its collaborations with artists, which over the years included Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Jean-Paul Goude, and Marc Riboud. For this late sixties catalogue, Klein honed in on the futuristic, aerodynamic design elements that made the DS (pronounced 'Déesse'--Goddess!) one of the most unique cars ever made. This early DS film is wonderful as well... Starting a 1957 Citroen DS 19 ... Read more ...

Four wheels in photographs: a snapshot

Shape, movement and light: just three of the many, many words that explain the love affair between photographers and the automobile. The first pictures taken by Jacques-Henri Lartigue as far back as 1910 reflect a passion for the object and its design, an interest in the people who design and build it, and a love of speed and motor sport. The world of automobiles and industry offers photographers an endless wealth of subjects, images, views and angles.

The exhibition of advertising photographs at the Paris Museum of Advertising, which is running until March 2007[1], highlights three pictures, taken by Jean-Paul Goude and André Martin in particular, offering an unusual vision of the automobile. The selection is representative of the photographer's vision of the motor car, the ideal object to illustrate shapes and forms and a symbol that expresses of all kinds of creativity.

Spotlight on style

"In the world of automotive photography, it is important to make the distinction between so-called advertising photographs that are used in catalogues or on posters and the photographs that illustrate communications materials, such as press kits and magazines," explains Patrick René, who is in charge of events in PSA Peugeot Citroën's media operations unit. "Advertising photographs are taken both in studios and outdoors and are usually the work of the agency's creative staff. Photographers can give full vent to their creativity when taking press photographs."There are always two possible approaches. The first consists in highlighting every aspect of the object itself. "Photographers like the Swiss Peter Vann1 often work in this way," explains Olivier de Serres, author of many works about the automobile2. "They simply photograph the car, with a minimalist decor."Enthusiasts tend to bring out the beauty of the car and highlight every one of its component parts using close-up shots. "With prestige vehicles, the car itself is the star, right down to the tiniest detail," explains Henri Beinert, a freelance photographer who regularly exhibits at the Schlumpf Collection in the "Cité de l’Automobile"3. "We take the time to seek out colours, shapes and reflections. I have been known to wait half an hour for a cloud to pass in order to find the right reflection on the bodywork." In this case, the image may be of an almost clinical precision, or, on the contrary, extravagantly stylised.

Life at the wheel, wheels come to life

The second approach consists in placing the vehicle in a spontaneous or carefully prepared context. From the famous holiday trips photographed by Doisneau to the speeding racing cars immortalised by Jacques-Henri Lartigue as far back as 1910, the goal is the same: to capture a moment or illustrate a dream in which the motor car plays an important role, but not necessarily the leading role. Some of Robert Doisneau's finest pictures illustrate the everyday life of workers in the Renault factory on the lle Seguin4, while Henri Cartier-Bresson is remembered for his images of the strikes at the Citroën factory on the Quai de Javel in 1938. Even the people who bring unfinished cars to life are a source of fascination for photographers.More recently, the Brazilian Sebastião Salgado, who has become one of the greatest photographers in the world, visited the PSA Peugeot Citroën style centre in the 1990s and took a surprising series of portraits of men and women at work. The automobile is almost entirely eclipsed by the look of concentration on their faces and the busy hands, hard at work.Amateur photographers will be reassured by the fact that some of the best pictures are flukes. "Jacques-Henri Lartigue's photograph is now thought to be a masterpiece, but to begin with it was considered to be quite poor," concludes Patrick René. "The history of photography shows that control does not always produce the best results." Arnold Odermatt, a lieutenant working in the Swiss police force, is another example of an inspired amateur. For years, he photographed his colleagues at work and road accidents (see his book "Karambolage"). Odermatt approaches this difficult subject with his Rolleifleix almost like a landscape artist. His work was discovered by the world of professional photography in the 1990s and he has since become one of the leading lights in Europe.

[1] "Advertising photography in France, from Man Ray to Jean-Paul Goude", November 8, 2006 to March 25, 2007, Paris Museum of Advertising (
1Photographer for Mercedes, Volkswagen, Porsche, etc.
2Latest publication: “Citroën DS: au Panthéon de l'automobile”, Anthese, September, 2005. Henri Beinert's work was exhibited at the "Salon des Artistes de l'Automobile" in December, 2006.
4"Le Renault de Doisneau", Robert Doisneau and Claire Stoullig, Somogy - Editions d'Art

Geen opmerkingen: