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22 May 2017

Michael Ackerman, Rencontres d’Arles 2016


Mickael Ackerman’s photographs take viewers to a place beneath ‘the black sun of melancholy’ that does not leave them unscathed. For nearly 20 years, the American photographer has chronicled a trembling, hallucinatory world rustling with cries and sighs. Olympus has given the rare, Nervalian photographer free rein this year. His disturbing images will be exhibited in the prestigious décor of the Hôtel de Luppé, where Olympus takes up its summer residence throughout the Rencontres d’Arles.

Other distinguished photographers, including Jean-Christian Bourcart, Stanley Greene, Denis Darzacq and Klavdij Sluban, have preceded Mr. Ackerman since 2010. But there is something especially exciting about the choice of this unruly photographer who shuns the market’s sirens, refuses the easy way out and takes his share of risks. Although Mr. Ackerman is unaccustomed to commissions and knows nothing about digital techniques, he agreed to a carte blanche with the new Olympus case without losing his uniqueness, chronicling his everyday private life with disconcerting honesty. The darkness of the contemporary world co-exists with the glimmer of a father’s heart-warming love for his child. Friends are present and the days fly by from dawn to dusk in the blink of an eye. For once, life seems closer to soaring than falling. It is even tinged with some colours, a miracle for this man of dark contrasts who has yet to reveal all his mysteries and constellations.

Accompanying this exhibition of the Olympus Carte Blanche is Watermark, a 12-minute video edited from Ackerman’s work of the past 15 years.

Natacha Wolinski

The exhibition’s photographs were taken with the OLYMPUS PEN-F case.
Exhibition venue: Palais de Luppé