Prix de la photo Camera Clara

Edition 2019


Delphine Balley, winner

Delphine Balley was born in 1974. She lives and works in the Drôme, France.

Throughout its history, photography (and later cinematography) has extended the immersive apparatuses that preceded it (Diorama, panorama, stage illusionary magic). It is then to be classified amongst the artifices and tricks that « make us believe ». A picture maintains an ambiguous relationship with the conditions of its production and apparition between visibility, realities and various acceptations of the truth. With her new series, Delphine Balley suggests a reflection around the fabrication of photographs, concerning their systems of apparition, through the various optical and recording devices.

The starting point of Delphine Balley’s reflection is a photograph that she has kept for a long time in her computer and found again a couple of months ago: the temple’s main room of the Order of the solar temple’s organization. For her, this picture « resists ». I do get from it that this completely artificial room is organized, staged to « make believe »: to believe in the invisible.

A strong relation exists between the staging of beliefs and their organization, but what remains unsettling about the customs of these unofficial religious groups, is the undisguised presence of the artificial. The faith is so powerful that one accepts that the staging gets tarnished with clumsiness: the scale factors are peculiar, the materials are unconventional, the special effects are apparent... Her desire was to work around those visual constructions. Picture, representation, apparition are at the base of all beliefs. One organizes the real for us spectators, so as to try to comprehend it as fully as possible. Delphine Balley wanted to organize her project from obscurity to light, fabricating a series of “mental images”. The first mental images are straight realizations of these “ends of the world”, often at the core of all systems of belief. She also tried to make seen the places in which those beliefs were constructed and spread, to go towards precise reconstitutions of place of worship, of ritual objects that allows the passage from one world to another. In order to recreate those images, those stagings, Delphine Balley has used materials that were present in primary forms of spectacle, simple materials such as cardboard, wood or plaster… It is through a deliberate staging, widely suggestive of the use of artifice, that she has thus treated this subject.

Delphine Balley was born in 1974. She lives and works in the Drôme, France. After several collections that blended fiction with reality, trivial events with familial history (11, Henrietta Street, l’Album de famille), after dissecting ancestral, curative, marian or mortuary rituals, after displaying practices and beliefs that used to structure our societies, Delphine Balley showcases, with her new series, different religious or sectarian beliefs and more precisely the way pictures help to build one’s faith. How can the non-existing be depicted, what kind of tricks and what kind of staging are to be used? Operating as a mise en abyme of her photographic work, she analyzes and allows us to see the picture’s construction, basing herself on the most spectacular forms of belief and notably those of unofficial religious groups.


Parutions presse :

9 lives
Connaissance des Arts
Le Quotidien de l'Art
Eyes on Talent
The Art Newspaper daily
France Culture
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©Delphine Balley

©Delphine Balley

©Delphine Balley