Claudine Doury: Between Magic and Reality

Time and again, the Paris-based photographer manages to captivate us. She takes the viewer to faraway locations: with delicate colours and sensitive images, she speaks of lesser known and wonderfully dreamlike places; yet she never drifts into nostalgia. Over recent decades, Central Asia, Crimea and Siberia have been her preferred areas of exploration. The distinguished photographer, who won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award in 1999, is presenting three series in an exhibition at the Leica Gallery Wetzlar – all taken with her analogue Leica M6.
In the mid-nineties, Doury explored Russia’s northern reaches, where she documented the lives and traditions of the last nomadic people living there. She covered thousands of kilometers, travelling from the Amur River, all the way to the lands beyond the Polar Circle. Her black and white LOBA series, The Last Nomads of Siberia, captured the tough everyday living conditions of the people who, even then, were caught between an omnipresent, but disappearing, cultural heritage and a rapidly changing world.

In the second series, Artek, Doury takes us to a youth summer recreation camp in Crimea. Established back in 1925, Artek had, once again, become a popular place for the children of privileged families in the post-Soviet era. Starting in 1994 and over a span of ten years, the photographer captured sensitive portraits of a generation in transition from child to adulthood. With a delicate feeling for the fragility of this phase of life, Doury took touching pictures that have lost none of their intimacy.
The third and most comprehensive part of the gallery exhibition is dedicated to pieces from her Loulan Beauty series, produced in Central Asia. “From 2002 to 2005, I was able to travel through the Aral region of Kazakhstan, to Uzbekistan, Xinjiang and on to the banks of the Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan,” Doury explains. The images depict poetic moments, portraying “the heirs of sunken kingdoms, fishermen without a sea, and children who dance to bring back their parents who work far away.”

In all three series, Doury asks fundamental questions that explore the relationship between people and nature, memory, transience and transition, loss, change and new beginnings; and she consistently proves herself a precise observer and empathic companion, who chooses not to reveal every secret.

About the Author

Claudine Doury was born in Blois near Orléans, France, in 1959. After studying Journalism, she first worked as a photo editor, before turning fully to photography.
She is a member of Agence VU’, represented by Galerie In Camera (Paris), she lives and works mainly in Paris.
At the intersection of reality and fiction, her work deals with notions of memory and transition, particularly around adolescence and travel, central themes of her work.
Her work has been awarded the Leica Oscar Barnack Prize (1999), the World Press Photos (2000) and the Niepce Prize (2004). She is the winner of the Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière – Académie des Beaux-Arts Prize (2017), as well as two major national commissions from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication: with the CNAP in 2017 for Jeunes – Générations, and with the BnF in 2021 for Radiosocopie de la France: regards sur un pays traversé par la crise sanitaire.

A portrait of Claudine Doury by Patrick Charton

Her work is regularly exhibited in France and abroad and her photographs are part of prestigious private and public collections including the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Neuflize OBC, the artothèques of La Rochelle and La Roche-sur-Yon, the Imagerie in Lannion, the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne (Switzerland) , the Fonds d’Art Contemporain in Meyrin (Switzerland), the Musée de la Photographie in Braga (Portugal) and the Agnès B collection. She has published five monographic books: Peuples de Sibérie (Le Seuil, 1999), Artek, un été en Crimée (La Martinière, 2004), Loulan Beauty (Le Chêne, 2007), Sasha (Le Caillou Bleu, 2011), L’Homme Nouveau (Filigranes, 2017) and Amour (Chose Commune, 2019).

Claudine Doury: Between Magic and Reality
22/10/2022 – 31/01/2023
Leica Gallery Wetzlar – Germany

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