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Exhibiting June 18-July 31, 2003

(b.France 1923)


"I still have this obsession to photograph life, everything that moves. For me it’s a mania, a virus, like the one of independence. If the taste of life diminishes, the photographs fade because photographing is really like tasting life intensely every hundredth of a second"

You can read more about Marc Riboud below, or go straight to the image gallery.

To find out more about this artist or arrange to view the works in person please contact katestevens@hackelbury.co.uk

Marc Riboud was born in Lyon on 24th June 1923. His first photographs, taken in 1937 using his father’s camera, were shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. In 1943, Marc joined the Resistance and took part in the engagements fought by the Vercors marquis before winning a place at the Ecole Centrale in lyons to study engineering.

On graduating, Marc Riboud worked in a factory in Villeurbanne. Following a week’s holiday photographing the Lyon’s drama festival, he decided not to return to work but instead to devote himself to photography. He visited New York in 1951 to familiarize himself with the work of American photographers, before moving to Paris in 1952. There he met Henri Cartier-Bresson and the other founders of Magnum. He was admitted to Magnum the following year by Robert Capa and had his photograph, ‘Painter on the Eiffel Tower, Paris 1953’, published by Life magazine.

Marc Riboud has travelled extensively throughout his career. Between 1954 and 1957, he travelled first to London, then throughout India and China, before being elected as European Vice-President of Magnum in 1959. He spent the next 10 years as a photo-journalist, reporting on the situation in Africa and Algeria, North & South Vietnam and the war in Bangladesh. He won the Overseas Press Club prize for his books ‘The Three Banners of China’ in 1966 and the ‘Face of North Vietnam’ in 1970 and in 1975 was elected president of Magnum.

Marc resigned his post in 1979, having left his archives to Magnum. He remains a ‘contributing member’ of the agency and continues his work throughout China, Europe and more recently, the States.

"For me photography is not an intellectual process. It is a visual one. I agree so much with Walker Evans’ definition of the photographer; ‘a joyous sensualist for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings not in thoughts. He is a voyeur by nature, a reporter, a thinker and a spy’. The (photographic) ‘artists’ have some excuse as the world we live in is submerged by thoughts, words, comments and concepts of all sorts. We forget that our language is based on the eye and for the pleasure of the eye. Whether we like it or not, we are involved in a sensual business. The eye is made to see and not to think.Nevertheless it may be good to think before taking pictures. While shooting, if we think too much, we miss the bird. A good photograph is a surprise. How could we plan and foresee a surprise? We just have to be ready. Our homework relies as much on reading poetry, listening to music or looking at architecture, than on getting good shoes and simple equipment. French poet, Rene Char, advised us ‘to foresee as a strategist and to act as a primitive’. We should be proud to act as primitives. Everybody can become a professional. It is more difficult to become a primitive or to act like one.

There are different ways of seeing. I have mine. For me to look at and to photograph a beautiful face or a misty landscape is somehow like listening to music. It helps me to live. After forty years of photography, have I changed my way of seeing? I don’t think so. Rarely one changes. I do different things, the same way. Often I am being asked which pictures are my best ones. I answer: ‘those I will shoot tomorrow or next week. And I will try again to change my way of seeing’. In vain….

One-man Exhibitions
1963 ‘Marc Riboud’, The Art Institute, Chicago
1966 ‘China’, Asia House, New York
Institute of Contemporary Art, London
1967 ‘China’, The Photographers Gallery, London
Galerie Delpire, Paris
1974 ‘Marc Riboud’, The Photographers Gallery, London
1975 ‘Nord Vietnam’, Rote Fabrik, Zurich
‘Marc Riboud’, International Centre of Photography, NY
1976 Musee Reattu, Arles
1977 ‘Marc Riboud’, Galerie Municipale, Toulouse
1978 ‘Marc Riboud’, Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris
1981 ‘From China & Elsewhere’, Gallery Photograph, NY
‘China’, The Photographers Gallery, London
1982 ‘China’, Galerie Photo, Geneva
1984 ‘Hommage a Marc Riboud’, Centre d’action culturelle and
‘China’ Galerie ACPA, Bordeaux
‘Images de Villeurbanne’, Villeurbanne
1985 ‘Retrospective’, Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville, Paris
1988 ‘Marc Riboud’, Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris
‘Marc Riboud’, International Centre of Photography, NY
1996-7 ‘China’, Travelling Exhibition
Centre National de Photographie, Paris, Barbican, London, International Centre of Photography, NY
& Beijing, Singapore & Hong Kong


Principal Joint Exhibitions

1968 ‘Mai 1968’, Local des 30/40, Paris
1972 ‘Behind the Great Wall of China’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
1973 ‘Concerned Photographers’, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
1977 ‘Concerned Photographers’, The Photographers Gallery
1981 ‘Paris – Magnum’, Musee du Luxembourg
1988 ‘Magnum & China’, Arles


If you enjoy the work of Marc Riboud, you should also take a look at classic French masters Henri Cartier Bresson & Willy Ronis.


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© 2003 Hackelbury Fine Art, Ltd. Copyright for all images is held by the respective artist or estate and they may not be reproduced in any form without express premission. All rights reserved.