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The world is colourful, confusingly colourful – at least if you look at it through the eyes of Gérard Musy. The Swiss photographer presented his latest project, Kaleidoscope, in a pop-up venue at the Esther Woerdehoff Gallery in Paris. Accompanied by music by Eric Satie and John Cage, the very unusual exhibit was shown during the Mois de la Photo OFF in Paris. We talked about bright colours and visual games.

Where did the idea for your extraordinary Kaleidoscope project come from?

Actually I never plan a theme beforehand; I'm always taking pictures of my own life. I have my Leica with me all the time. For my personal work, I just take pictures of subjects around me, without any pre-conceptions: it must come naturally. After a while, I realized I had several brightly coloured images; so I put them together in order to make another theme.

When and where did you take the pictures for the series, or were you always on the look-out for motifs?

Normally, I find a series is really time consuming. It takes at least ten years. This time it was quicker. Actually I really began with this theme when I got the digital M9 in 2010. As a very traditional, black and white photographer it was fun to take pictures that could be visualized immediately. It sort of began as a joke back then. This theme is very refreshing compared to my other ones – even shocking to my friends and traditional collectors. Freshness is the best word to describe it. As usual I never re-frame an image and, except for enhancing the hues of the already existing bright colours, no time was wasted with photoshop treatments.

All the pictures were taken during festive times: holidays in Italy and Spain (beaches), the Feria in Cordoba, horse racing during the Palio of Siena, New Year fashion parties in Paris, Christmas windows in London. Always high spirited and joyful times! I probably needed another perspective; my last theme, Lontano/Lejano, (still unpublished) was about reminiscing on a faded past - a salute to Proust, but in the south of Italy and Spain.

Why did you turn several images to one composition - and how did you choose the motifs?

Putting together four images gives a sense of «explosion» and infinite space - like the big bang. A mirroring effect like an actual kaleidoscope. And it was just fun to try different combinations like a jig-saw puzzle: a visual game! Kaleidoscope is just a nice composition of colourful elements!.

What do colours mean to you?

Colours are the continuation of a beam of white light through a prism. So it is part of photography – photo means light in Greek. Light it is life. Like everyone (including animals), I'm naturally attracted to light and bright colours - bees are attracted by brightly coloured flowers. As a fashion photographer, I really love make-up for models… So colours mean attraction and multiplicity - hence Cornucopia. Horn of plenty! Black and white is more dedicated to a reflexive mind..

Could you imagine a life without colours?

I could not!
© Gérard Musy
© Gérard Musy
© Gérard Musy
© Gérard Musy
© Gérard Musy
© Gérard Musy

Gérard Musy

Born in Switzerland in 1959, Gérard Musy received in 1986 his bachelor’s degree for an art history thesis on photographer Robert Frank. He currently lives in Paris working on commercial and personal projects. His clients include Armani, Paco Rabanne and other fashion labels, and his work is published in international magazines such as Vanity Fair, Harper‘s Bazaar and Skin Two. He has received several awards, including two Swiss Federal Grants, and his pictures are found among the collections of the Bibliotéque Nationale de France, the Swiss Foundation for Photography in Winterthur and the Museum de L’Elysée in Lausanne.

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