“The first time Guillaume Geneste showed me his photographs, the ones to be used in this book, I saw immediately that they would not be like the pictures in albums that focus entirely on capturing the moving image of the idea of the family, but I did not imagine that they would carry the burning issue of family happiness to this point of incandescence, a topic so uncompromising that it brings both experienced photographers and naïve amateurs to the same dead end, stripping them of all technical and aesthetic skills and leaving them open to the risk of shameless sentimentality, which is so badly regarded in photography… It has taken him a long time to develop this practice, which until now has remained a private affair, so that now this collection of photographs can reveal the totally different things playing in them across time, and the acts through which he undermines and subverts the stereotypes of the genre, and express the simple joy of living together, a thing both delightful and scandalous. What we see is what family albums hardly ever feature, and there is no reticence here: moments of the most secret tenderness, nudity, the satisfaction of hugs and clasps, the nestling of babies’ bodies, flesh bound in joy, the ever new, ever stunning wonder of the everyday when shared with the beloved lady, babies that little by little – and so quickly – grow into children. Everything that weaves together without the sound of passion in the bedroom, the kitchen, on the street, on the highway, on the beach; all familiar locations for family photographs that mark out family history. Here they are lifted to a transcendent height by the act of the artist, who is bewitched by the impossibility of his gaze at his loved ones and theirs back at him. All we actually see at first is the radiance of love and the classic reliance on the camera to capture, just for an instant, the imponderable moment of its advent.” […]
Guillaume Geneste is founder of the laboratory La Chambre Noire in Paris opened since 1996. He draws the images of many photographers authors and practices film and digital processes. In parallel with his activity as a shooter, he photographed his wife Colette and his two children Chloé and Gabriel as “family self-portraits” where he performed with them at their side.