Polka Marc Riboud
As in recent issues, the release of “Polka, photojournalism’s magazine” is accompanied by a series of exhibitions presented at the gallery of the same name. This Spring 2011 edition, the 12th, remains faithful to its editorial origins established in 2007, the year of its creation. Among the exhibitions presented, a personal selection by Marc Riboud entitled “Liberty, Equality, Femininity”.
The photographer is a regular at Polka, and has been featured both in the gallery and in issues 1, 4 and 7. Despite our insistent questioning, we still don’t know if the third word in the exhibition’s title refers to his wife Catherine Chaine who wrote the accompanying text and captions for the twenty pictures published and exposed, or if it referred to Editor-in-Chief Alain Genestar’s photographer-approved and overtly feminine selection. “Obvious signs of tenderness” can be seen across the women’s faces, reaching over continents, retracing or symbolizing 60 years of photography. Or perhaps, intentionally or not, a combination of both!
Pictures that have become icons, and others, lesser known, or for some, previously unreleased. In the first category, we find the illustrious picture of “the young girl with the flower” taken in Washington during the October, 1967 demonstrations against the Vietnam War. This color version of the otherwise notorious black and white print is lesser-known, but also adorns the cover of this recently released 12th issue of “Polka”. Marc Riboud explains that the color was an accident. After having depleted his stock of black and white film packed for the story, he was forced to rely on an emergency camera loaded with color film. That’s how we knew, he commented, that “the flower was pink, (rose in French), like the young girl’s name, Jane Rose Kasmir.”
Others are lesser-known or previously unreleased, like this statue “with feminine forms emphasized by the snow” taken in 1989 in the suburbs of East Berlin. Or Karlovy Vary (1962) where we see a couple following a cellist in this famous spa town of the former Czechoslovakia frequented by the nomenklatura. In reference to Catherine’s caption, Marc adds that “the man and woman following the cellist had just fallen in love, and if I look at them closely, I think I can see their rhythmic steps, joyous, affectionate, and I can hear their whispering words…” Tenderness (Calcutta, 1971), with this young mother who had escaped her native Bangladesh to give birth in a refugee camp. Or in “Clémence Asleep” (1992) where beauty overcomes handicap. Or, on the other hand, this series taken in 1976 Palermo of a mother dominated by her Mafioso sons or these nuns that seem like “walking tombs.”
Although not chosen by Marc, Catherine Chaine comments that “these pictures could never have been taken by anyone other than Marc, they tell as much as they show, evoking philosophy: they show without insisting, without overwhelming, without ever seeking to prove, with the light “touch” and nuance of a great pianist.”
Marc Riboud Exhibit Comes to Rio
November 9, 2010 | Filed under Entertainment | Posted by Amy Skalmusky
By Amy Skalmusky, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This month, visitors to the Centro Cultural Justiça Federal (The Federal Justice Cultural Center) will get a view of the world through the insightful lens of Marc Riboud. Riboud, considered by many to be one of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century, has traveled the world capturing striking images of everything from the atrocities of war to the delicacy of everyday life.
Riboud was born in Lyon, France in 1923, the fifth of seven children. His interest in photography began at 14, spurred by a random gift of a Vest Pocket Kodak from his father.
However, he would not pursue photography as a career until the age of 27, instead spending two years in the French Resistance, then studying engineering and graduating from Ecole Centrale in Lyon, and finally accepting a position at a factory in the nearby town of Villeurbanne. But when Riboud took a week-long holiday from his job to visit (and photograph) a drama festival held in Lyon, he decided to drop everything and devote himself to photography.
In 1952, Riboud moved to Paris and met Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, two of the founders of Magnum Photos. Bresson and Capa were impressed by his work, and invited him to join the agency. Everything Riboud was to learn about the job of photographing came from the Magnum team of Cartier-Bresson, Capa, and David “Chim” Seymour.
Magnum was one of the first photographic cooperatives, owned and administered entirely by members, among whom have included Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, David Hurn, and Sebastião Salgado. With Capa’s help, Riboud landed his first published picture in Life magazine.
From that point on, Riboud traveled extensively as a photojournalist. He made his way through India, China on numerous occasions, USSR, Africa, Algeria, North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, Poland and Czechoslovakia. His photos capture the people and activities of each location as well as document historical moments – the Cultural Revolution in China and the war in Vietnam, among others.
Although he has worked primarily in black and white, Riboud has also created a significant body of color photography; of these, particularly notable are his pictures of the Huang Shan Mountain Range in eastern China. These photos were the subject of his 1990 book “Capital of Heaven”, which was commissioned by Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
The Huang Shan photos are among the 40 on exhibit at the Centro Cultural Justiça Federal until December 5th. For the Riboud enthusiasts, 20 additional photos taken during his 2009 visit to Maré Favela in Rio de Janeiro are on display at the Casa do Saber until February 4th, 2011.
Place: Centro Cultural Justiça Federal, Av. Rio Branco 241,
Centro Date: Until December 5, 2010. Time: Tuesday to Friday, Noon to 7PM
French Photographer Lifts the Mask on “Red China”
Huang Yi-ying and Staff Reporter 2011-01-23 19:05 (GMT+8)
When speaking of foreign photographers who have captured images of China, French photographer Marc Riboud is, perhaps, one of the best known as he was one of the first western photojournalists to enter China and unveil the mysterious mask of “Communist China,” or “Red China,” following the Communist takeover of 1949.
Riboud developed a strong kinship with China, since first arriving in 1957. During his approximately 20 visits to different regions in China over the past five decades, Riboud has faithfully and vividly recorded the ordinary lives of ordinary people.
Despite working under the tight supervision of Chinese authorities, Riboud has developed his own photographic style. In 1989, a collection of his photos, entitled “Seen in China,” were featured in Photography magazine.
In 1997, his first solo photo exhibition, “40 Years of Photography in China,” was held in Beijing, which sparked heated discussions on journalism photography, with some asking “How do you photograph China?” and a chief editor of a photography magazine asking “How far is the distance between us and Marc Riboud?”
Born in Lyon, France in 1923, Riboud decided to become an amateur photographer during World War II. In 1951 he joined the celebrated Magnum photo agency, after meeting with the agency’s founder, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He later took advantage of the opportunities to travel to China and Vietnam as a photojournalist.
He was also the only photojournalist allowed to photograph the Vietnam War from within North Vietnam.
The 89-year-old Frenchman is best known for his portrait of the 1967 image of a 17-year-old girl, holding a flower in her hand and standing in front of a row of soldiers, whose rifles are raised during a demonstration against the Vietnam War in Washington D.C.
The photo, “Flower vs. Guns” recorded the historic moment in the anti-war march and became a symbol of people in pursuit of peace by non-violent means.
Riboud’s style was displayed in the photo: people and national power and the stark contrast and co-existence of weapon and harmony.
To Riboud, photography is characterized by a series of fortuitous events. In an attempt to observe things from the fresh perspective of an outsider, Riboud said he deliberately did not learn Chinese.
Riboud has said that he found marching demonstrators and police were standing along with the authorities while taking a photo of a young man raising his arms and shouting slogans in front of a giant poster of Chinese leader Mao Zedong during a large demonstration against US involvement in the Vietnam War held in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1965.
Since joining the Magnum photo agency in 1953, Riboud made numerous visits to Africa, the Middle East and the Far East, in addition to China.