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Retrospective of Marc Riboud 's Photographic Work at Young Gallery in Brussels
Marc Riboud, Pékin, 1965. Silver Gelatin print. Photo: Courtesy Young Gallery.


BRUSSELS.- Young Gallery presents, for the first time in Belgium, a retrospective of the Marc Riboud ‘s photographic work.

Born in Lyon, France, Marc Riboud went to high school there and made his first picture in 1937 using his father's Vest Pocket Kodak camera. He was active in the French Resistance from 1943 to 1945, then studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale from 1945 to 1948. Until 1951 Riboud worked as an engineer in Lyon factories, but took a week-long picture-taking vacation, inspiring him to become a photographer. He moved to Paris where he met Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, and David Seymour, the founders of Magnum Photos. By 1953 he was a member of the organization. His ability to capture fleeting moments in life through powerful compositions was already apparent, and this skill was to serve him well for decades to come.

Over the next several decades Riboud traveled around the world. In 1957 he was one of the first european photographers to go to China, and in 1968, 1972 and 1976, Riboud made several reportages on North Vietnam and later traveled all over the world, but mostly in Asia, Africa, the U.S. and Japan.

Riboud has been witness to the atrocities of war (photographing from both the Vietnam and the American sides of the Vietnam War), and the apparent degradation of a culture repressed from within (China during the years of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution).

In contrast, he has captured the graces of daily life, set in sun-drenched facets of the globe (Fès, Angkor, Acapulco, Niger, Bénarès, Shaanxi), and the lyricism of child's play in everyday Paris. In 1979 Riboud left the Magnum agency.

Riboud's photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, including Life, Géo, National Geographic, Paris Match, and Stern. He twice won the Overseas Press Club Award, and has had major retrospective exhibitions at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the International Center of Photography in New York. He now lives in Paris.

Marc Riboud made very well known and famous photos. One of the best known images is Eiffel Tower Painter, taken in Paris in 1953. It depicts a man painting the tower, posed like a dancer, perched between the metal armature of the tower. Below him, Paris emerges out of the photographic haze. Lone figures appear frequently in Riboud's images. In Ankara, a central figure is silhouetted against an industrial background, whereas in France, a man lies in a field. The vertical composition emphasizes the landscape, the trees, sky, water and blowing grass, all of which surround but do not overpower the human element.

An image taken by Riboud on October 21, 1967, is among the most celebrated anti-war pictures. Shot in Washington DC where thousands of anti-war activists had gathered in front of The Pentagon to protest against America’s involvement in Vietnam, the picture shows a young girl, Jan Rose Kasmir, with a flower in her hands and a kindly gaze in her eyes, standing in front of several rifle-wielding soldiers stationed to block the protesters.






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