No bodies. No blood. No war.

edouard_boubat_057-boy-shell

There are certain pictures I can never take. We turn on the TV and are smothered with cruelty and suffering and I don’t need to add to it. So I just photograph peaceful things. A vase of flowers, a beautiful girl. Sometimes, through a peaceful face, I can bring something important into the world.

~ Edouard Boubat, (1923–1999), a French photo journalist and art photography said in an interview in Paris in 1991


Edouard Boubat, one of France’s most celebrated postwar photographers who was best known for his poetic images of children… Mr. Boubat traveled widely during a career that lasted almost 50 years, but unlike many photographers of his generation he showed no interest in political events. His rule, ”no bodies, no blood, no war,” even earned him the nickname of peace correspondent…Rather, what attracted him was the beauty of life, wherever he found it. He liked photographing women, animals, trees and nature as well as children, and his use of light gave his work a special quality. Invariably the emotion evoked by his images is tenderness, as in one of his most popular photographs, ”La Petite Fille aux Feuilles Mortes.” ‘There is something instinctive about the moment you choose to ‘take’ a photograph,” he once explained. ”It’s not the result of thought or reflection. The strength of the composition is always born of the instant of the decision. It reminds me of archery. There is the tension of the bow and the free flight of the arrow.”¹

Boubat is known to capture people in their own private worlds, whether that was lovers embracing, or children daydreaming.  He shows the empty moments of life and exalt the happiness in those moments.
Boubat is often described as a ‘humanist’ photographer because of his ability to capture the beauty and dignity of his subjects. This is one of his most famous pictures, “Remi Listening to the Sea”,  a portrait of a little boy holding a sea shell up to his ear and, with eyes closed, quietly listening to the sound of the ‘sea’.²


Notes:

Comments

  1. Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. yes, i understand this completely. some images are too heartbreaking to ever “unsee.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes! Thankyou Edouard, more of this please. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post lightened my heart. There’s so much darkness and mean spiritedness in the world today–what a welcome antidote….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m on the bandwagon. More Tenderness. More Light. More Edouard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A good resolve… I choose my pictures very carefully. I seldom pick a ‘hard’ or sad scene. When I do it appears after a lot of thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I remember doing that as a child, (many years ago of course), and the sight of this child doing the same thing brings back memories and thoughts that went through my mind as I was listening. Imagination is a beautiful thing for a child. Buobat a wonderful photographer.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ”It’s not the result of thought or reflection. The strength of the composition is always born of the instant of the decision. It reminds me of archery. There is the tension of the bow and the free flight of the arrow.”

    Yes, like that.
    And the boy’s face, for some reason, is channeling Lusseyran!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a beautiful way to promote peace 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this image. Hadn’t heard of this photographer, good to know. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am very much like Mr. Boubat. I know, I see, I feel, I hurt. So I stay back and write hopeful things. Funny things. And leave all the pain out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand. I recently read a quote by Krista Tippett that aligns exactly where you are. Will pass it along shortly.

      Like

    • I’ve traveled a long way since my early life in Oklahoma— far enough to know that I might be accused of taking this virtue of hope too far. So be it. My mind inclines now, more than ever, towards hope. I’m consciously shedding the assumption that a skeptical point of view is the most intellectually credible. Intellect does not function in opposition to mystery; tolerance is not more pragmatic than love; and cynicism is not more reasonable than hope. Unlike almost every worthwhile thing in life, cynicism is easy. It’s never proven wrong by the corruption or the catastrophe. It’s not generative. It judges things as they are, but does not lift a finger to try to shift them. I experience the soul of this moment— in people young and old— to be aspirational. This is something distinct from ambitious, though the two may overlap. I’d say it this way: we want to be called to our best selves. We long to figure out what that would look like. And we are figuring out that we need each other to do so. This listening for the calling, and the shining, fragile figuring out, are tucked inside the musings I hear from young people as much about how they want to be and who they want to be as about what they want to be.

      ~ Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living (Penguin Publishing Group. 2016)

      Liked by 1 person

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