Photography with tension
Florence and Damien Bachelot’s collection
02 15 … 05 18 2014


Art lovers Florence and Damien Bachelot developed a passion for photography ten years ago putting together a collection through auctions and galleries. The collection started off with a base of French humanists (Brassaï, Doisneau, Cartier-Bresson…), branching out into the wealth of American photography (Lewis Hine, Sid Grossman, Bruce Davidson…), with a contemporary offshoot (Stéphane Couturier, Luc Delahaye, Mitch Epstein, Paul Graham, Edward Burtynsky…). Shifting from a black and white intimate image to a very current poetic of ruins, the collection seems at first to favour variation, but finally reveals its constant intention to cover the social and the urban. It bears witness to a society in construction, undergoing constant change, as well as a decomposing world.

Collecting is a profession in itself. And, if one were to listen to collectors, it takes more than just a fat wallet to establish oneself in a sustainable and original manner in the restricted world of vintage photography. Any collection, in order to stand out, must paradoxically examine the photographs and create a distance with them. While the collection is a personal one, it is obvious that the recognition of others for one’s work is expected.

The strength of Florence and Damien Bachelot’s collection, its brutality even, goes hand in hand with a clarity that serves a depiction of the “human condition”. Empathy kept the bright and intense colours alive in their minds. This private passion is the exact opposite of a self-satisfied or charitable take. It denounces, testifies against. Even though none of that really changes the edifice, the flaws of our time, racism, poverty and war appear as raw truths: an insult to intelligence and progress. This collection feeds off the real world, with all its faults. It is as good as any modern source of information. Its only end is the morals and, let’s not beat around the bush, the edification of the spectator!

Belief in the creative and poetic power of photography has proven to be intact. The photographer can, through the camera, change the course of things. More than just recording it, he or she dominates the real. The photographer sees where others flail around blindly. This collection is a clear affirmation of the difference between the photograph taker and the rest of the world.
Let us note another of this collection’s merits. It breathes freedom. Known names, but so few icons…
In the end, collecting is more than a profession. And seeing these images that have been so patiently brought together, we realise we haven’t insisted enough on what exactly they share, a gravity. No, a tension.