Jean-Christian Bourcart recently won the “prix Nadar” for his book “Camden” published by Images en Manoeuvre Editions.
Founded in 1955 by l’Association des Gens d’Images, the “Prix Nadar” is an award which annually honors a book published in France and devoted to photography in all its aspects.
Jury members were keen to emphasize the strength of Jean-Christian’s photographic work, highlighted by a text whose style speaks directly to the images. This book describes the journey of the author in the most dangerous city in the United States. Beyond the stark surroundings, abandoned buildings and violence, Jean-Christian approached the people.
This award also recognizes the work of the french publisher Images en Manoeuvres Editions who has been supporting photographers for many years.
“This is absurd. I just searched the Web for the most dangerous city in the United States.
I wanted to rediscover that strange energy you feel in places where social rules and constraints have been weakened or abolished. A feeling of freedom mixed with danger.
I wanted to find out if it was still possible to get close to other people, no matter how distant, no matter how strange they appeared. Camden, New Jersey, two hours from New York City, and just opposite Philadelphia, was at the head of the list.
I discovered the face of ordinary poverty hidden behind stigmas and stereotypes. The people of Camden are tough but their laughter is sincere. After being robbed by a prostitute, she gave me ten dollars so I could get home.
I’m interested in what we have in common with the people of this city. But at the same time, we always photograph difference. Perhaps it’s a question of producing material proof of the vast economic and social machine that sucks us in and then spits us out.”
Jean-Christian Bourcart – Camden 2008
Here is a film made in Camden by Jean-Christian. Straight and touching !
Below are some pictures of the book
Jean-Christian Bourcart first gained attention in France, his native country for ‘Infertile Madonnas’ (1992), a series of photographs taken in Frankfurt brothels, which was widely exhibited and published with an introduction by Nan Goldin. He also published ‘Forbidden City’ (1999), an investigation of swinging and S&M clubs taken with a hidden camera ,’Traffic,’ a study of commuters caught in traffic jams (2004); and ‘Sinon la mort te gagnait’ (‘if Not, Death Would Have Overtaken You’), an autobiography mixing text and photographs. In ‘Collateral’ (2005), he projected photographs of Iraqi war victims on houses, churches and supermarkets in the American countryside. In 2009, he directed his second feature movie, ‘Memories of the Days to Come’ with César Award winning French actress Elodie Bouchez.
Since 2009, he documents the city of Camden, New Jersey, which is one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in the U.S.A., trying to understand and witness what is the real life behind the statistics, and at the same time questioning the act of documenting.The book ‘Camden’ won the prix Nadar of the best photographic book in 2011.
He is now photographing crowds in different cities around the world, visually assessing the flow of urban populations. He is also organizing an art and cultural festival in a tent camp of Haiti.
As a photographer, Bourcart has been the recipient of the Prix Nadar (2011), the prix Niepce (2010), the Prix du Jeu de Paume (2006), the World Press Award (1991, 2nd Prize, Art category), and the Prix Gilles Dusein(1999). The fiction movie ‘Elvis,’ which he wrote and directed in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war has been awarded numerous prizes. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Genève; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Bourcart’s exhibitions include Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk; Museum für Photographie Braunschweig; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris; Galerie du Jour, Paris; Kagan Martos Gallery, New York; Reflex Gallery, Amsterdam; Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York. He was a recipient of grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, and the Villa Medicis Hors Les Murs.
Jean-Christian Bourcart has been living and working in New York since 1997.