A l’occasion de l’edition Chinoise - Le livre Passages
Passages Exhibitions
China Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP)
Septembre 2016
René Burri, Pingyao, 2004
Robert Pledge, Pingyao 2016
Jean Loh, Pingyao 2016

Foreword to Barbey’s PASSAGES exhibition in Pingyao, Bruno Barbey is a veteran Magnum photographer and a well-known colorist born 1942 in Morocco. Photography historian Carole Naggar called him “the Space-Time Traveler”, indeed, his career was launched from Switzerland: while studying photography at the Vevey School of Arts and Graphic design, he took the initiative to visit neighboring Italy, portraituring the everyday Italian of Naples, Rome, Sicily etc., including the iconic Vespa scooter which became under Barbey’s lens an inseparable protagonist of the 1960’s neorealist cinema.

During the 1960s, Barbey filed reportage on the recently independent African countries, with a remarkable instinct for capturing moving images and colors. He became a full member of Magnum in 1968, thevery same year of his covering of the May 68 student riots in Paris that became one of his best known books. It was also from his 1960’s travels to Brazil that Barbey fell in love with the country and would later return often, one of his iconic pictures was of children jumping into the river near the Amazon Forest, forming dancing shadows on the water surface.

In 1973 Bruno Barbey discovered China while following French President Pompidou’s visit, the stock of rolls of Kodachrome he brought with him formed a precious archive of haunting impression of a nostalgic “China in Kodachrome” that appeals especially to young generation of Chinese of today who have never known or seen the daily life of post-Cultural Revolution China.

Over five decades Barbey has accumulated an extensive palette of reportages including military conflicts and civil wars, while demonstrating a deep empathy for the refugees and victims of land-mines, the burning oil fields of Kuwait was one of his images that has widely circulated in publications in the world. What characterizes Barbey’s style is his non-partisan position and his accurate eye.

Curator: Jean Loh