Friday, May 9, 2014

China by Marc Riboud

Posted by magz on 5:01 PM

Marc Ribaud is a French photographer, best known for his extensive reports on the East: The Three Banners of China, Face of North Vietnam, Visions of China, and his most recent, In China.

Born in Lyon, France, Riboud went to high school there and made his first picture in 1937. He was active in the French Resistance from 1943 to 1945, then studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale from1945 to 1948. Until 1951 Riboud worked as an engineer in Lyons factories, then became a freelance photographer and in 1952 moved to Paris to meet Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, the founders of Magnum Photos. 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.

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's photographs have appeared in numerous magazines, including Life, Géo, National Geographic, Paris-Match, 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, New York.

One of Riboud's best known images is Eiffel Tower Painter, taken in Paris in 1953. It depicts a man painting the famous structure. He is posed as if a dancer, perched between the metal armature of the tower, below which the city of 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.