Harry Gruyaert: “There is no story. It’s just a question of shapes and light”







  • Boom, Belgium, 1988. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos.

    Boom, Belgium, 1988. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos.

All images © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos



With the recent release of the first English-language monograph of his work, famed Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert talks about the banality of colour and the fuzzy line between art and photography

“There is no story. It’s just a question of shapes and light,” Harry Gruyaert says. The storied Magnum photographer is notoriously reluctant to share how he creates his celebrated photography.

As one of the first European photographers to take advantage of the creative potential colour photography held,  Gruyaert rarely follows received wisdom — as seen in the first English-language monograph of Gruyaert’s work, published by Thames & Hudson and offering a comprehensive retrospective of his career.

While American photographers such as William Eggleston and Stephen Shore were eagerly embracing the new possibilities of colour, many photographers in Europe of the same generation preferred to relegate it to use in advertising, press and illustration. Gruyaert feels closer to the American approach.

“In Europe and especially France, there’s a humanistic tradition of people like Cartier-Bresson where the most important thing is the people, not so much the environment,” he says. “I admired it, but I was never linked to it. I was much more interested in all the elements:  the decor and the lighting and all the cars: the details were as important as humans. That’s a different attitude altogether.”

Kerala, India, 1989. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos

Kerala, India, 1989. © 2015 Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos


2015-07-27T16:59:33+00:00





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