in New Richmond
Claudia Imbert, Montreuil, France | claudiaimbert.com
Born in 1971, Claudia Imbert worked for 10 years in film, as assistant camera operator and then as camera operator.
First, it was the movies. Claudia Imbert worked as an assistant camera operator on feature films for ten years, and built on the encounters she had there. “The position of assistant made it possible for me to be right up front and to get a close look at directing and lighting work.”
Then she turned to photography and picked up the Prix Arcimboldo for her personal work “The uncertain family,” a photo series about her day-to-day world in suburbia featuring indoor shots of her neighbors, but with a view. Moved by the world of sports, which she visited on a number of occasions, she not long after won the Prix de la jeune création for the video installation “The Circle” (named for the Swimming Circle of Marseilles) in which she captured water polo players tying their caps. Repetition of that simple action keeps our gaze on the young men filmed.
She joined the photographer collective France(s) territoire liquide with a film on a shifting landscape.
Today she’s working on a variety of projects: carte blanche on a construction site; portraits of parachutists, on the sports side; and collaboration with the European cultural TV network Arte as a director.
EXHIBIT AT RENCONTRES
Following a residency on Gaspé territory, I headed towards the north shore of the peninsula. “Wilder,” I was told. “Boy, will you meet some characters there!” I didn’t photograph the characters in question, but they were my secret guides. They welcomed me with all their heart and introduced me to the community. Which is how I ended up in Petite-Vallée.
But how do you describe a place that’s both powerful and puzzling?
I looked for a downtown and didn’t find any.
I looked for passers-by, but they never seemed to leave their cars.
And every day I found myself faced with different weather:
fog, sun, wind, rain, grey, sun, cold, very cold, warm, blue, storm.
I was collecting portraits of houses, like a little girl who keeps drawing the same thing until it’s perfect. Then portrait sessions with the characters allowed me to go further. Those moments of balance where you look for yourself, take a picture and no one is photographed, whatever the scene. Everything is possible; intuition alone, a longing have brought us together here and now.
In effect, it was a way of taking its pulse;
its own heart slowed either because unaffected by time or at “the end of the land,”* Petite-Vallée gives off a mild fragrance of strangeness.
Claudia Imbert, August 2015
*Gespeg means “end of the land” in Micmac.