Gilbert Garcin’s meditative images are striking in their symbolic power and their skillful blend of humor and gravity. Through Garcin’s poetic and philosophical scenes, he enables us to become better observers of our human condition; he speaks of all people while he tells of himself. By considering the hidden side of life and raising questions concerning aspects of life, such as the transience nature of our existence or the tenacity one needs to keep going, Garcin uses himself as a model of the everyman to present a resource for meditation on life’s little absurdities and the significance of the human condition.
These profound and masterful compositions are from a Marseilles lamp factory owner who first delved into the photographic arts at the age of 65. It was at this late time that he met photographer Pascal Dolesmieux at a workshop in Arles and Dolesmieux immediately sparked Garcin’s fascination with photography by tutoring him in the trade. Garcin gave up his business and began his photographic career. Now in his mid 80s, Garcin continues to produce simple and minimalist arrangements without the aid of any digital technology. Adding an element of self-portrait photography, he poses himself in his own surreal microcosm and always sports a plain, gray overcoat, representing his anonymity and constant condition despite the changing surroundings. He and his wife are in fact the only two “personnages” to occupy his photographs.
His work is included in the collections of the Fonds National pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris, Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and Fonds Communal pour l’art Contemporain de Marseille and he has been in numerous international exhibitions. Always triggering a set of emotions, Garcin’s self portraits of an ordinary man grappling with a variety of Kafkaesque situations speak of truths that concern us all.