Gilles Coulon is invited this year in residency in Vichy for the 5th edition of the Festival Portrait (s), member of Tendance Floue he approaches the city with a resolutely humanist eye. During these winter months of 2018, those moments of respite during which the city pauses, Gilles Coulon was interested in the inside, the inner life of the Vichys, their relationship to others, their relationship to the world.
In association with the CAVILAM-Alliance Française, a teaching center of French as a foreign language of international reference, which welcomes every year more than 4 000 trainees and foreign students in Vichy, he was able to enter the houses, the kitchens, the rooms and piercing the intimacy of these host families and uprooted students time for an apprenticeship.
The result of these closed-door meetings is a series of contrasting portraits that mix modesty, sharing, exile, everyday life and elsewhere.
In these private spaces, Gilles Coulon tells us about the fragility and strength of the link that connects people. Their ability to live together and understand each other against all odds. Their resilience.
He gives us powerful portraits that remind us of who we are. A poetic and generous work that captures the invisible. No Lost in Translation here. The language is that of the soul.
This series of photos is on display at the Portrait (s) festival from June 16 to September 10, 2018.
Since the 2014 edition, the festival Portrait (s) organized by the city of Vichy hosts, for a month, a photographer in residence.
After Anton Renborg, Cédric Delsaux and Yusuf Sevinçli, Sandra Rocha is Gilles Coulon French photographer of the collective Tendance Floue, who surveyed the spa town and we discover people (trainees and foreign students) who learn French in Vichy in a structure the French CAVILAM-Alliance.
Born in 1966 in Nogent-sur-Marne (France). Gilles Coulon began his career photographing different facets of French society, under the supervision of the French daily newspaper Libération. The Paris “banlieue”, precariousness at work and immigration were his central themes.
In 1989, he went to Mali for the first time. The discovery of this country was followed by the publication of three books: Un président en campagne records Alpha Oumar Konaré’s electoral campaign, Avoir vingt ans à Bamako (being twenty in Bamako) expresses the energy of Malian youth, and Delta is an immersion into the very animated lives of the inhabitants of the banks of the Niger River.
In 1997 he was awarded the World Press Photo First Prize in the “Daily Life” category for his documentary on Peuls tribes who lead a nomadic existence between Mali and Mauritania.
He then moved away from his previous subjects with “White Night”, a photographic research project on light bulbs, photographed in hap hazard situations around the world, carried out over a period of four years. This documentary is now presented in a book published in 2005 by the Steidl Editions.
He went back to Mali in 2006 to make a series on “Grins” which are conversation circles in Bamako that take place on a regular basis. This documentary was exhibited the same year at the Arles International Photography Festival.
Last July, Gilles Coulon at the request of the Council of Landes realized a photographic work on the Flamenco within the framework of the international festival Arte Flamenco of Mont-de-Marsan.