The Gallerie Catherine Putman is pleased to present as part of the Paris Photographic Week and for the first time an exhibition of 'Portraits' by the photographer Rajak Ohanian.

The exhibition originates from a portfolio (published in 2016) entitled "Bram van Velde", containing nine photographs by Rajak Ohanian taken at the end of the painter's life; the artist frequently exhibited his work at the gallery.

Charles Juliet, the author of Rencontres avec Bram van Velde (first edition 1978, published by Fata Morgana), which enabled the photographer to meet the painter he admired, wrote the preface for the album, in which he mentioned the series of photographs by Rajak Ohanian:

"Rajak visited him on two occasions at a time when no one visited him. This series of photos is invaluable, because, to my knowledge, it is unique. They show him in a serious and meditative mood, with the suggestion of a smile . One of them is particularly significant. He is sitting next to an olive tree and on the other side of the trunk there is an empty chair."

The quality of the shots and their insightful portrayal of the painter inspired us to organise the exhibition and add a selection of portraits that he has taken over the years.

Whatever the theme tackled, Rajak Ohanian's work is a long-term process, and revolves around an encounter with a place, a person, a company, a town or a village. The portraits he has taken over the last sixty years are the fruit of encounters, friendships, and artistic or intellectual affinities.

They are writers, musicians, artists, philosophers, and theatre and cinema people. The photographs have nothing to do with a portrait gallery of outstanding individuals, but are about encounters, the essential question of testimony, and traces of reality that are integral to photography.

The photographs, which were taken in a context of mutual trust, were generally taken in the people's home environment. They are not strictly speaking a series but a long-term process an ongoing activity in which the desire to take photographs arises spontaneously through encounters and is never dictated by a commission.

The photographic portraits'a selection of which will be presented in the exhibition paint a portrait of the author, revealing his environment and his affinities; and his very relation with photography, which is deep, unaffected, and respectful, like a relationship with earth and man.

Rajak Ohanian


November 8 - 21 2018