For their 20th birthday, the VU' photo agency, founded in 1986 by Christian Caujolle, and the Musée d'Orsay, opened to the public in December, 1986, have given Carte Blanche to five of the agency's finest photographers. From architecture by Gabriele Basilico to the art work by Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, from the visiting public by Stanley Greene to the museum staff by Rip Hopkins and Richard Dumas, every angle shown is an invitation to an unusual visit to the museum, which, ever since its doors opened, has welcomed nearly 52 million visitors.close informations
All Rip Hopkins’ photos share an enigmatic “character”, i.e. a white cable that is sometimes taut, sometimes, entangled, sometimes moving, sometimes easy to see or sometimes visible only on closer inspection. It is intriguing for those who don’t realize that it is the link between the camera and the shutter bulb, hidden in the “model’s” hand, and that only the slightest pressure is needed to trigger it when the model wants. To capture the museum staff, Rip Hopkins used a set up that is both playful and rigorous. It was up to the photographer to define the framework, the light, the composition and the chroma. It was up to the “model” to decide on the moment when the photo would be taken (but not its exposure time or other technical considerations). In the end, this is a family photo album that is both funny and serious in a series of “true-false self-portraits” for which the building (and above all its behind-the-scenes) serves as a frame and jewel box. To such a degree that the whole thing becomes a “portrait” of Orsay that gives pride of place to the invisible spaces, favorable to the mise en scène, the theatricality, the smiles, surprises and seriousness. In short, jubilation.
© Christian Caujolle / Musée d'Orsay / Panini 2006