Opening. Let us suppose that the production of every photographer contains an image that can be taken as generative, one in which he unwittingly expresses his moral code as an independent observer and the principles of his art. For Marc Riboud, this would be the photo of Peking, 1965, for it is so unique and out of the ordinary in comparison to his other images, but it clearly reveals the embodiment of his craft.

Here it is easy to imagine the photographer as separated from a world—that of the Chinese street—that he dares not fully enter, always afraid of being the stranger, wherever he may be, yet attempting nonetheless to perceive the snatches of an exterior humanity. The result is not one photo but three, or more, for there are so many openings in this confined space, these redundant openings used in a separating partition, otherwise referred to as “views”.

Every square or rectangular opening outlines and selects in the continuous space of the street an inevitable association between parties, surprises in a configuration that is almost random. From then on, they make sense only within this frame, to such an extent that the eye has difficulty reconstructing the banal scene of urban daily life where, in fact, nothing is happening on the other side.

The only event that occurs here is the presence of the photographer, flushed out by the stares that seem directed at us like an accusation of voyeurism. One isolated from the other. (…)


Michel Frizot