Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Pictures at an Exhibition

The summer holidays are a bit difficult for me as, without the routine of a working week, I am just a Blob on the Sofa.

So I have to make a huge effort to ‘do’ things. I’m too poor to go on exotic holidays – or even unexotic ones – and too lazy at the moment to go walking.

So today, I ambled along to the Musée de l’Ancien Evêché to a most wonderful exhibition featuring the work of the little-known amateur photographer, Joseph Apprin.

Joseph Apprin was born in Saint-Geoires-en-Valdaine, in Isère, in 1859. He worked as a clerk in Grenoble and like many of his middle-class contemporaries, took up a fashionable new-fangled hobby: photography.

But, unlike his fellow photographers, he did not content himself with taking pretty, soft-focus pictures of bucolic scenes (this was the era of Impressionism, of course); rather, he preferred to photograph everyday scenes and ordinary people.

The result is fascinating. Apprin took pictures of men playing boules, women washing clothes (apparently, they only washed bed linen once or twice a year, which makes me, with my dodgy housekeeping skills, feel a lot better) and children swimming in the river. He photographed labourers – a strange and novel subject for the time – and took pictures of his own children playing. He even made a few delightful ‘selfies’, grinning and making faces.

He died aged 49, in 1908, and would probably only have been remembered for his administration skills had his glass-plate negatives not been discovered almost by accident a century later.

So, if you’re broke and too lazy to go walking, why not pop along here and see this exhibition? It’s called Le spectacle des rues et des chemins and it’s free!