Denise Colomb and the West Indies
From legend to reality, 1948-1958
from 29 September 2009
until 27 December 2009

Denise Colomb produced two major reports in Martinique, Guadeloupe and Haiti, in 1948 and 1958 respectively. Her first journey was initiated by Aimé Césaire, who provided her first commission when he invited her to join the celebrations of the centenary of the abolition of slavery in the French Antilles (1848-1948). She went back ten years later, with a commission from the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. During this strip she also took colour photographs.

These two pieces of reportage about daily life and customs in the West Indies constitute the most important thematic ensemble, in terms both of quantity and quality (9,100 photos) in the Denise Colomb collection, with the exception of her work on painters. Their dates (1948 and 1958) symbolically bookend what was Colomb’s most active period, when she most fully expressed her humanist vision.

In 1999 Denise Colomb began work with the curator of this exhibition on selecting photographs and gathering together her travel writings (ethnographic notes and thoughts) and press articles (notably the piece she co-signed with Césaire in Regards). This project remained incomplete when Denise Colomb died on 1 January 2004 at the age of 101.

Exhibition curated by: Noël Bourcier

This exhibition and its catalogue were produced with the cooperation of the Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (Department of Photography),

in partnership with: ; Azart Photographie ; France Ô ; Polka Magazine and Tropiques FM
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