THE OTHER SIDE OF ONE SELF
For more than twenty years, Sophie Elbaz has travelled the world, gazing deeply into the black holes of injustice and tragedy. Incest in the United States, mass rape in Bosnia and the refugee camps in Rwanda have plunged her into the heart of human suffering. Enlisted on the side of the excluded and society’s casualties, she has often fought mercilessly against oblivion and the unsaid, imposing on the world’s disorders an order of the heart.
But, in the history of photography, rare are the reporters who have undertaken an inner journey. In 1981, in his “New York correspondence,” commissioned by Libération, Raymond Depardon dealt the deathblow to the so-called “objective” reportage that the humanist tradition had pushed to its limits. In these “mental images,” he reminded us that the only adventure that can be lived is an inner one. Sophie Elbaz’s photographs lie within this perspective.
Far from Walker Evans’ quest for an urban and social typology, in Cuba Sophie Elbaz found the matrix of a collective subconscious woven by resistances and humility. Aleyo represents the eye of the stranger, but at the same time refers us to a personal issue. Images follow on from each other in dreamlike succession and a discourse emerges from their organisation. When she shows us Cuba, Sophie Elbaz is showing us its psyche. The form of authenticity inherent in this osmosis imposes its own style, that of a photographer freed of all prejudice, re-embracing her origins and past.
Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie