Gilbert Garcin‘s photography defies everything. As does he. This is an inspiring tale, a reminder to you all that it is never to late to start creating, making, seeking, exploring. Garcin is now 84 years old. At the age of 65 while running a lamp factory in Marseille he decided to take a photographic workshop in Arles. After that he quit his job and became a world renowned Surrealist photographer.
So what. It’s the work that counts. And yes it is. Look at it. It’s distinctive, it comes from the deep knowledge of a man who has led a full life. This is not whimsical picture making, it is not full of cheap photoshop thrills, rather it is philosophical, existential, images that tell the story of life and the absurdity of the human condition.
These are photos whose aesthetic style belongs in the past with the Surrealists, the Theatre of The Absurd – if you’ve never seen absurdist theatre I strongly suggest you do or short of that read some Eugène Ionesco – and even the op art movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. In each picture you will see Garcin himself, often dressed in a plain overcoat – representing his anonymity and constant condition despite the changing surroundings – undertaking some mundane task in a surreal absurd landscape. Sometimes his wife is with him in scenes that:
draw you into the vicious circle of those insoluble existential questions that man has faced through all eternity: the questions of time, solitude, and existence.
What’s most remarkable about these montages is how Garcin creates them. Nothing is photoshopped rather he prefers to use simple cut and paste methods to produce his out of scale images; a simple process of cutting out his self portrait and positioning it in a handmade set and reshooting the picture. In a sense it is pure theatre, not photography. Photography is just the means by which he presents his ideas.
So enjoy being led by Garcin through the absurdity of life and go have a look at the rest of his work. Better yet go and make your own work.