Set within a stone throw from Paris, the Galerie Lumière des roses is a treasure trove of vintage photographs. In 2004 Marion and Phillipe Jacquier established this unrivalled gallery in a former carpenter studio. Since then, they have been in search for images. But not all kind of images. Those that “prick”, wound”, “bruise” a particular viewer’s subjectivity in a way that makes the photograph in question singularly arresting to him or her, to cite the words of the French cultural theorist Roland Barthes.
Marion and Phillipe Jacquier’s eyes never miss a thing. Going beyond the conventional favoured materials, they have been gathering a wide range of genres, topics, techniques, and periods. If it is true that most of the photographs conscientiously packed in thematic boxes are anonymous, some bear the signatures of their authors. Once collected, the images are consistently documented and contextualised. This process requires months of research. Dealers and researchers, they are also keen to engage in dialogue with contemporary practices. For instance, in 2013 they have collaborated with the graphic designer Julie Rousset with whom they created a series of posters drawing from the gallery's collection. In the near future, Marion and Phillipe Jacquier are planning to invite photographer artists to respond to their archive.
To its credit, the gallery presents each year its findings at the authoritative Paris Photo Fair, and has enabled major institutions and collectors across the world to constitute rare collection of vernacular photographs. Still aspiring amateurs with a limited budget can also find what they are looking for.
The gallery is well known for showcasing vintage photographs taken in the Western world. However it also owns a fair number of images from East Asia, including China, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam amongst others. Of particular interest, are three boxes and a few original albums that contain remarkable photographs from Japan and China. It is no wonder that the gallery currently holds a remarkable album of hand-coloured aristotypes made in Japan because it belonged to Phillipe Jacquier’s own great-grandfather: Gabriel Veyre (1871-1936). Veyre was a film director and photographer appointed by the Lumières Brothers between 1895 and 1900, which led him to travel across Latin America, Canada, Morocco, Japan, China and Indochina. Although Veyre’s photographs of Indochina were displayed at the Parisian World Expo in 1900, it seems his photographs had never been commercialized. Thus far Veyre's album of Japan has remained in Jacquier’s hands. Not everything is for sale at the Galerie Lumière des roses.
As I was searching myself inside the boxes, I remember my surprise when I came across a print attributed to the Japanese Sanshichiro Yamamoto, who owned a commercial studio in Beijing in the 1900s. This encouraged me to continue the search for other rare prints. Marion and Phillipe Jacquier eventually showed me an album containing original pasted-in photographs that depict Christian missionaries in late-Qing Beijing, more specifically Trappists living in the abbey called Notre-Dame-de-la-Consolation. I finally had my heart set on a postcard from the Hartung studio, some Marc Riboud’s diafilms, and a André Zucca’s photo of a dentist in 1930s Shanghai.
I strongly encourage the readers to keep an eye on the gallery’s developments as they are preparing a large show to be opened this fall that will celebrate its extension.
More information: Galerie Lumière des roses website