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Following the chronological order and very “narrative” form of the journal in which Henri Lartigue stuck his photos, the Jeu de Paume exhibition, shown at the Château de Tours to 26 May 2013, offers a selection of large-format images by this photographer whose life and work are like a living illustration of the principle of happiness.
Lartigue’s childhood coincided with such exciting inventions as the aeroplane and the motorcar, and the rhythm of his days is marked by newly and increasingly popular sports such as skiing, skating and golf, as well as by travel and family holidays. He began recording these moments at the age of eight, using his new camera, like a collector striving to preserve moments that he knew to be fragile: “Painting, writing, photographing, these things gave me almost complete consolation.” Martine d’Astier, head of the Jacques Henri Lartigue donation, and curator of this exhibition, has described the approach of this photographer who always sought out “wonderment.”
As a spectator, I enjoy myself. But suddenly this morning an idea began to dance around in my head, a fairy-tale invention, thanks to which I will never again be bored or sad: I open my eyes, shut them, open them again, then open them wide and hey presto! I capture the image, everything: the colours! the right size! And what I keep is moving smelling living life. This morning I took a lot of pictures with my eye-trap.
Lartigue in Mémoires sans mémoire (Robert Laffont, 1975, p. 32)
Lartigue, Wide-Eyed Wonder (1894–1986)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, la sélection de la librairie
J. H. Lartigue. L’autofiction d’un homme heureux par Françoise Simonet-Tenant
Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue