The photographer and author André Recoules, 100 years old, exhibits at the Samuel-Paty media library in Moulins (Allier)

André Recoules has been taking photos for ninety years! He doesn’t take them: “Billions of photos are taken every day, few are made.” He understands: Few are works of art. When he started practicing in the 1930s, people wondered if photography was an art. André Recoules “takes pictures with his feet”, he moves, finds the right angle, shoots and creates a work. He doesn’t just want to “take stock for a moment.”

Inspired by a Prévert songIn 1948, he also founded the first photo-club in Moulins.

His theme exhibited this year at the Samuel-Paty media library: the beach, that area between the land and the sea that sees the tides eternally happening. 25 photos make up this series. They were carried out between May and June 2021, in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, on the north coast of Brittany. “It’s the vacation beach of my childhood, explains his son Bruno Recoules, but also my father’s”. “It’s simple, specifies André Recoules, I’ve been going every year for 100 years”. Last year, therefore, he decided to take his camera out for a few moments of escape. The photographer was inspired in particular by the song Démons et Merveilles written by Prévert and featured in the film The Night Visitors, by Marcel Carné, released in 1942.

“One of the few French films released during the war, I was twenty years old and I saw it in the cinema.”

andré recoules (empty)

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In the song, the words “winds and tides in the distance and the sea has withdrawn” especially marked the artist. André Recoules’ shots stage this imagination, bringing together everything that can be seen on the beach: the boat waiting, the marine chains, the green classroom, the reader on a buoy, the sea in the distance… The exhibition ends with a sunset.

André Recoules, at 99, multiplies projects at Moulins

Coincidentally, André Recoules’ 100th birthday will fall right in the middle of the exhibition, on May 18 (ends 21). “It happened like this, without planning it.”
If he doesn’t plan anything in advance given his age (despite the same two books in the process of being written?!), André Recoules would like the opportunity to return to his favorite vacation spot. With a hope, after a century of attempts, to finally be able to observe the green beam.

Until May 21, at the Samuel-Paty media library, free admission. Tuesday and Thursday, 2-7 pm Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Emeric Enaud


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