Jean Gaumy

Pleine Mer

Storgata 95

28. April 2007 - 21. January 2008

Mari Hildung

Perspektivet Museum is confirming its role as a centre of showing documentary photos in Northern Norway. We now have established an exciting collaboration with Magnum Photos in Paris, and will be able to display some of the best photographers in the world here in Tromsø. At the time being we are proud to invite our visitors to the exhibition ”Pleine Mer” by the French Magnum photographer Jean Gaumy. The exhibition lasts from 28th of April until 6th of January 2008. Born in south-western France, Jean Gaumy worked as an editor and photographer on a regional daily while finishing his university studies in literature in Rouen in 1969–72. He submitted his first photographs to the Viva agency in 1969, going on to join Gamma in 1973 and Magnum in 1977.

I want to go to sea and this urge already contains the germ of the idea. It can’t be to do with a reportage. It’s something else. I don’t know what exactly. I’ll have to tell a story. Tell it simply. Avoid pretence, the heroic tone. Stay at the human level.

Excerpt from Jean Gaumy’s notebooks (Men at Sea, Harry N. Abrams, 2002, this translation by John Tittensor)

In 1975 Gaumy had been given permission to take a long series of photographs in the different sections of a French hospital. Determined to be true to daily life there, he created images aimed at breaking with the so-called propriety that forbids showing suffering and the shortcomings of the healthcare system. In the following year he became the first photojournalist to be admitted to France’s prisons. Jean Gaumy has reported widely in Europe, Africa, Central America and the Middle East, most notably in Iran, where he was a frequent visitor in 1986–94. It was in Iran that he took a picture published around the world, of Iranian women practising pistol shooting during the Iran-Iraq war. He is also interested in the lives of farmers and sailors, taking photographs of the farming life and making regular voyages on deep-sea trawlers. In the course of four voyages spread over fourteen years (1984–98) aboard deep-sea trawlers, Jean Gaumy shared the daily life of the fishermen. In a book titled Men at Sea, excerpts from his diaries and over 120 photographs recount this experience. This exhibition “Pleine Mer” offers some of the high points of the expeditions with 29 photographs, film and texts that invites the visitors to take part in the lives of the fishermen and leaves a salty taste of sea with the photographer’s talent for capturing the energy and expressive moments with his camera.