A pioneer in colour photography


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While most of his European contemporaries in the 1960s and 1970s were working in black and white, and colour photography was considered suitable merely for advertising, not serious art photography, Harry Gruyaert’s (b. 1941) work exploded with colour. For him, the world was Kodachrome, right up until the fabled slide film was discontinued in 2009. Gruyaert—a native of Antwerp, Belgium—is closer to his American contemporaries in his focus on everyday, ostensibly mundane subjects, eschewing the decisive moment of his European contemporaries for the decisive detail: photography does not convey ideas through the capturing of action; rather, the universe exists somewhere amidst a dance of colour and an interplay of light and shadow.

His trademark style earned him entry into the hallowed Magnum photo agency in 1982, and his photography has taken him all around the world, but Gruyaert now returns to his hometown with a retrospective at the FOMU in Antwerp. Consisting of three series, the exhibition shows a broad overview of his work, from his most acclaimed and well-known images to some lesser known aspects of his career, such as early black-and-white, fashion, and commissioned work.

Harry Gruyaert - Retrospective is on show at FOMU - Fotomuseum Antwerpen (Belgium) until June 6.


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