Raymond Depardon photographs the gorgeous French countryside in all of its contradictions: shimmering and bleak, lively and secluded.
During the 1990s and 2000s, French photographer Raymond Depardon (born 1942) crisscrossed rural France with his 6×9 view camera. In the photographer’s words: “To photograph and film farmers means entering their private lives and creating relationships of trust over many years.”
From this exploration of the agricultural world, he made black-and-white photographs that tell the story of the land, the people, manual labor, the isolation and fragility of small farms, but also the beauty of the French countryside. Sunlit scenes of sheep on secluded hillsides and spacious old small towns are juxtaposed with the same scenes in wintertime where those same towns and hillsides offer up new contrasts such as between untouched snow and the dark earth agitated by farmers and their livestock just feet away.
Born in 1942 in Villefranche-sur-Saône, Raymond Depardon a filmmaker, photographer and international journalist holds a unique place in the field of the contemporary image. In 1967, he co-founded the Gamma Agency, and in 1978, he joined the Magnum Agency for whom he would carry out reports all over the world up until the beginning of the 1980s. While continuing to practise photography on a daily basis, he later turned his attention to documentary film, making use of the direct cinema genre. From his first pictures taken in the early 1960s to his latest trips to Africa and South America, Depardon’s work is characterized by its fundamentally human approach.
This work is published as a tribute to Raymond Depardon’s roots.