Agnès Sire

Wright Morris. L’Essence du visible

Éditions Xavier Barral, Paris (FR)
Honorary Appreciation

jury statement

France /// Frankreich

This exquisite photo book is reduced to the maximum. It’s sleek and proper. Just holding it in your hands gives you a good feeling.

It is devoted to the work of American novelist and photographer Wright Morris (1910–1998). He is known for his portraits of the people and artifacts of the Great Plains area (American Midwest) in words and pictures, as well as for experimenting with narrative forms.

This first monograph in French coincides with the first important exhibition in France at the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris. At first glance, it appears to be a very classic book, but without being boring. It´s done on point. The choice of paper is nicely appropriate, the print is amazing. The reproduction of the old photographs leaves nothing to be desired, they are given all the space they need.

“L’essence du visible” shows classic everyday objects and draws quiet yet impressive moods. Morris’ poetic images exist in a fictional narrative but refer to a documentary style. He photo-graphed American rural life inspired by the realism of authors and photographers of the Great Depression. His characters from the great American West, their habitats and daily lives were to be embodied in works known as “photo texts”. Assigning equal value to image and text, Morris imagined works mixing literature and photography, one dialoguing with the other in the same evocative power.

This piece is modest, not in your face, presenting beauty of the everyday life. A book that cannot be ignored despite its quiet appearance, it kept coming back to the table, again and again.

190 × 270 mm
number of pages
204 Seiten
number of copies
Line Célo
Offsetdruckerei Karl Grammlich GmbH, 72124 Pliezhausen (DE)