Through The Light And Darkness, Off The World And Back With Photographer Gueorgui Pinkhassov
“I really take a lot of photographs” says Gueorgui Pinkhassov. “But I only show the ones that suddenly speak to me; that come alive when I look at them.”
Gueorgui Pinkhassov was born in Moscow in 1952. As a Russian who acquired French citizenship, Pinkhassov has lived in Paris for many years. Pinkhassov became interested in photography at the end of secondary school. He studied at the VGIK Moscow Institute of Cinematography from 1969 to 1971 and then worked in the Mosfilm studios in the cameraman team before becoming a set photographer.
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In 1978 Pinkhassov joined the Moscow Union of Graphic Arts as an independent artist. The same year, film director Andrei Tarkovsky invited him to photograph the set of his film Stalker. In 1979 Pinkhassov participated in the collective exhibition of the Union of Graphic Arts where his photographs attracted attention.
In 1985 Pinkhassov moved to Paris. He joined Magnum Photos in 1988 and began working with the international press. However, his primary interest does not lie in covering major events. Gueorgui Pinkhassov likes to explore singular details through reflections and particular kinds of light which often approach abstraction, as can be seen in his first book, “Sightwalk”.
Pinkhassov’s particular style of art-reportage turns mundane, everyday scenes into the abstract and the surreal. A cockerel is caught in a bright beam of light, its red crown contrasting starkly with his white plumage; hundreds of lanterns reflect and shine in a Marrakech market, birds swoop across a partly veiled, military Azerbaijan harbour and a blonde woman smokes a cigarette, her face concealed in a cloud of smoke. Each image is a kind of visual stream of consciousness.
This style of photography, he says, was directly inspired by Henri Carier-Bresson. “Cartier-Bresson was the first person to use this method. Thanks to the invention of the Leica camera, he was able to work in the moment. It is thanks to the existence of this camera, that the great avant-garde photographers of his era were able to show us the 20th century as they did. Cartier Bresson’s genius was not that he was able to press the right button in the right moment, but that he allowed the moment to be taken, to be photographed.”