Follow Us on Twitter

Raymond Cauchetier's New Wave - James Hyman Gallery

Exhibition preview

TO MARK Raymond Cauchetier’s 95th birthday, and to coincide with the publication of a new monograph on his work, James Hyman Gallery is presenting a new exhibition, Raymond Cauchetier’s New Wave, from June 17 to August 14, 2015.

The exhibition includes never-before-editioned photographs selected from Cauchetier’s own private archive.

One of the most influential and innovative film-set photographers of his day, Cauchetier – who still lives in the same Paris apartment in which he was born in 1920 – was for many years the unacknowledged genius behind some of the most iconic images of 1960s French cinema.

Following a sustained campaign to have his work recognised, and with events such as the 50th anniversary of the release of Jean-Luc Godard’s À Bout de Souffle (Breathless) in 2010 driving a resurgence of interest in New Wave cinema, Cauchetier is now able to claim his rightful place in French photographic history.

Building on the success of James Hyman Gallery’s 2010 show, La Nouvelle Vague. Iconic New Wave Photographs by Raymond Cauchetier (Cauchetier’s first ever solo show in London), this new exhibition will showcase previously un-editioned, landmark images from such cult classics as A Bout de Souffle (1959), Une Femme est Une Femme (1960), Jules et Jim (1961) and Peau de Banan (1963).

In addition to Cauchetier’s New Wave photographs, the new show will also feature less familiar landscape photographs made on Cauchetier’s travels in Asia.

The opening of Raymond Cauchetier’s New Wave coincides with the publication of Philippe Garner’s new monograph of the same name, released by ACC Editions in June 2015.

James Hyman, Director, James Hyman Gallery, said: ‘Raymond Cauchetier’s photographs are Icons: the definitive photographs of French New Wave Cinema. We are proud to represent Raymond and honoured to be staging this exhibition to celebrate his 95th birthday. We are particularly delighted to present works that have never previously been editioned. ‘

Raymond Cauchetier, photographer, said: ‘My photographs of cinema’s Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) that are the subject of a new book and of the James Hyman Gallery exhibition languished for a long time in production archives. They were, nevertheless, the first pictures to reveal the radical change provoked in the world of film-making by the methods of the Nouvelle Vague.

‘At the time they were disconcerting to those who thought on-set photographers should simply record the film’s scenes, no more and no less, and who regarded my photographs as intrusive, a betrayal of trade secrets, and a waste of time. Fortunately, with the passing of time, attitudes have changed and now these photos, finally rediscovered, are appreciated as enriching our understanding of these films.

‘James Hyman was the first in Europe to have understood this, hosting the first exhibition to celebrate this material, with the precious encouragement of Philippe Garner, who has played an essential part in this resurrection. I thank them warmly.’

Largely self-taught, Raymond Cauchetier’s photographs of French New Wave Cinema are internationally acclaimed and constitute some of the most iconic pictures of the period.

Cauchetier’s first photographs were taken in his thirties while serving in the press corps of the French Air Force in Indochina. Upon his return to Paris, Cauchetier began mixing with a circle of young film critics and filmmakers, among them Jean-Luc Godard, and in 1959 Cauchetier was hired as the on-set photographer for Godard’s first feature, A Bout de Souffle.

He photographed not only the famous moments, such as Jean Seberg and Jean Paul Belmondo walking down the Champs Elysées, Seberg in her New York Herald Tribune t-shirt, but also behind-the-scenes glimpses which document the filmmaking process.

Unlike other on-set photographers, whose aim was simply to create stills which could be used for publicity purposes, Cauchetier approached the set as a photojournalist, bearing witness to a defining moment in cinematic history. The resulting images offer fascinating insights into the genius of Godard’s photographic practice and document his highly unorthodox methods.

Cauchetier has traveled extensively and taken photographs in Cambodia and has also photographed throughout Europe for his work on Romanesque sculpture. Several books of his photographs have been published, including Photos de cinéma: Autour de la nouvelle vague 1958-1968. His work has been showcased in Aperture Magazine as well as The New Yorker Magazine.

Image: A Bout de Souffle (Jean-Luc Godard), 1959. Copyright Raymond Cauchetier, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London.

Also at the James Hyman Gallery: André Kertész in Europe (May 13 to June 13, 2015).

James Hyman Gallery, 16 Savile Row, London, W1S 3PL