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
- Photograph taken by Edouard Boubat in 1995 titled “Remi Listening to the Sea” (via flyeschool.com)
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- ¹NY Times: Boubat, Photography with Poetic Eye for Children, 75
- ²Source: Veronika Wesenberg