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Galerie le Réverbère - Lyon (2006)

A quarter century of photography

To celebrate its 25th anniversary the Réverbère gallery has united its twenty photographers within this exhibition : Arièle Bonzon, Jacques Damez, Yves Rozet, Denis Roche, Pierre Canaguier, William Klein, Beatrix von Conta, Jean-Claude Palisse, Lionel Fourneaux, André Forestier, Laurent Dejente, Serge Clément, Philippe Pétremant, Rip Hopkins, Alain Fleischer, Delphine Balley, François Deladerrière, Julien Guinand, Géraldine Lay et Thomas Chable.

Paris anonymous

Interview with Rip Hopkins by Fabrice Drouzy, Libération

« Where did the idea come from for the masks ? There are two reasons. The first is that in Paris people are very much aware of the power of images and media, so they usually refuse to be photographed. Photographers working in the street are often agressed. So I decided to get around this problem by using it to my advantage, by turning it into a game. It was funny to see that Parisians refused to have their photograph taken, then accepted when asked to wear the mask.

The second reason for the masks is that people don’t look at each other in the street, they censor themselves, compared to places like Africa where everybody touches one another with their eyes. Here passer-bys ignore each other on purpose, from fear, so as to avoid trouble, its almost as if they are wearing masks.

This work is therefore a criticism of a state of mind, but has also a lighthearted side : people look like shrews or moles. Creatures emerging from their den. Furthermore I made many different masks before finding the appropriate one. »

12 ink-jet prints on varnished canvas - 42cm diametre
Mounted on circular chassis held 37cm from wall with 40 watt lighting