By Max White
Both an exhibition venue, photo studio and restaurant, this barge aims to become a lasting part of the Parisian cultural landscape. British photographer Martin Parr is the first to exhibit in this particular gallery.
THE Arles meetings have their court Fanton, the Visa for the image from Perpignan to its Place Castillet. Places of communion where everyone can stroll and learn to share their pion for photography. In Paris, the Quai de la Photo aims to become a place of encounter and discovery hitherto absent from the capital. Nestled on the banks of the XIIe arrondist, this somewhat unusual barge, with a large terrace on the pier, faces the Accor Arena. Inaugurated on July 20, it is a “newborn” in the district.
A jack-of-all-trades place
In design for two years, the Quai de la photo was imagined by Géraud Boursin and Nicolas Laugero Lerre. The two partners wanted to create the “little brother” of Fluctuartanother barge erected as a cultural center by them in the VIIe borough.
For this new place, they wanted to combine photography and restoration. On the upper floor of the boat, the room dedicated to gourmets shares space with the La Comète bookstore. After more than fifteen years in e Parisian district, it has decided to migrate to the Seine where it offers a large number of books related, among other things, to photography. This upper deck overlooks an interior marina. Four pleasure boats are available for hire for cruises on the Seine. This naval part is managed by Philippe Fournier, the project’s third partner.
For any art lover, the most interesting part of the houseboat is in the bat. An exhibition room completes this original place. Since the opening and until the end of September, it is occupied by 57 photos signed Martin Parr. The exhibition entitled Life’s a beach sublimates scenes of beach life thanks to the unique aesthetic of the British photographer. The entire photo part of the Quai – also including a state-of-the-art studio – is orchestrated by Pierre-Yves Mahé, the fourth and last partner. He is the founder and director of the Parisian photography school Spéos.
Springboard for young talents
In October, an exhibition of 200 “offbeat” photos taken by five young talents from the AFP will take the place of Life’s a beach. An important highlight in the eyes of Pierre-Yves Mahé. “The Quai’s clearest objective is to highlight emerging and talented photographers. It’s so hard to get visibility in this industry when you’re starting out.», explains the pionate sixty-year-old.
Clémentine Schneidermann is the first of these “new faces” to present her project I called her Lisa Marie. For several years, the young photographer was interested in the legacy of Elvis Presley. His photos are visible on the outdoor terrace.
With this in mind, monthly photo courses will be set up from October. These initiations will take place aboard boats, directly on the Seine. Photographer conferences will also be organized on site regularly.
With its 700m2 of surface and its barely dry paint, the Quai de la Photo is only just beginning. Its quartet of creators is bubbling with ideas to develop this barge and ultimately make it a rallying point for Parisian photography.