Thierry Samuel photographe

Press release

Paris, 21st January 2014

Thierry Samuel has been a french photographer for over 40 years.
He is now exposing 4 decades of photographs on the website

This new site,, consolidates indiscriminately both commissioned and more personally researched work, approximately 500 photographs. The objective is to put forward a part of his production that he considers significant. Looking back on several decades of his work has made him more demanding in his selection and has freed him from production and operating constraints.

Thierry Samuel, 40 years of 'poetic realist' photography
His production started in the 1970s. There remains only a few archives from this era, misplaced during various moves : a few images of the Halles de Baltard and a few negatives of singers Claude François and Charles Aznavour rehearsing at Studio 101 in Paris.
On the other hand, from the 1980s onwards, everything has been entirely conserved and is fully available.
Starting in the 2000s digital runs alongside film photography without ever overtaking it. Very attached to the average format technique in black and white, digital comes more as an instinctive gesture, of fleeting images in colour.
(read the complete biography by clicking here), the major themes
The site is based around portfolios classified by major themes. Within each one Thierry Samuel has chosen a more relaxed rather than a systematical or analytical approach, encouraging the viewer to stroll through it. This is because it is the way he has travelled his fields of investigation. His form of expression can be defined as close to 'poetic realism'.

The portrait (see) is for him a very special moment where the short shooting time and the isolation created around his subject allow him a unique experience. His belief in the human element is found in the look of the individuals thus immortalised. He photographs as much a relationship as a moment or a person. The result can sometimes appear largely neutral, but if the viewer accepts to plunge into the eyes of the image he can succeed in communicating in a certain fashion with the subject. It is thus that he hopes to contribute to this exchange between two people who may not even meet each other.

Street photography (see) : the human in the city, a theme that is dear to him, earned him an exhibition during the 2000s, consolidating around thirty years work on this theme.

Day or night (see), he surveys a large variety of places without differentiating diurnal from nocturnal, favouring a form of daydream rather than a more precise vision. Lamplight or sunlight, it doesn't matter, only the image does!

Architecture and monuments (see) materialise his thirst for esthetics through his active contemplation. The Pantheon, the Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower and other places have been his models for several decades.

Paris (see) is like a house of which he knows every nook and cranny. However he finds more content by integrating his band of extras into it.

New York (see) : urban by nature, he did not miss the occasion to spend 4 days exploring New York without ever going back to the same place in order to optimise his fresh approach, even if he recognises that it is sometimes complicated for this special place to not feel the shadow of the elders who have already so often depicted the capital of American immigration.

Landscapes (see) : landscape is a subject that lends itself to composition. For the author, acclimatised to the urban universe, this exercice is closer to a form of meditation than a conceptual writing method. Observation, sensation and intention fall within another much slower and sometimes more profound tempo.

Rodin (see) : captivated by the dynamics of Rodin's sculptures, he pushes the photographic equation to its limits. Relaying body movements by immobilising them, he pursues his quest of Augustus Rodin by privileging intention over sculputural rendering. The strength of the bodies appears to us, the strength of the movements is clear, both in its power and its delicateness.

Very attached to the photographic gesture, he always favours capturing a moment whatever the technical circumstances. By integrating the vagaries and accidents of his operating method, he accepts them without provoking or avoiding them. He considers that photographic specificity rests on a triangle of force 'meaning-compostion-moment', the technique only having for him an effect on the form and not on the content.
Meaning, an objective of every moment
The great majority of images proposed are the result of the traditional film technique. The recent introduction of digital photography does not represent any modification to his global and semiological approach. He considers that the props (paper or screen) do not constitute in any way a distinguishing factor for the author of a photograph. Thinking ahead of the newspaper edition whilst shooting would affect a whole generation of press photographers whose talent would suffer from this assertion. The photo exists at the moment it is taken or it doesn't, no matter what the reproduction method. It would be illusory to believe that Albert Camus' novel The Stranger would have it's deep meaning modified by the quality of the paper and the binding used. Thierry Samuel recognises, not without a certain mischievousness, that those who only count on this parameter to justify their work will leave no mark on the art's history. Photographic icons adapt to large and small formats without losing their content. In the best examples, the meaning is inside the photograph, within the image in order to implant itself within the viewer.

A new imagination, towards new images
A recent reflection around the 'Studium-punctum' concept fathered by Roland Barthes, is projecting him in a new, more conceptual direction . These experiments will soon be on line in the framework of a temporary exhibition that is under preparation. There is no doubt that, having dedicated his whole life to photography, he feels like the classical painters a push towards the abstract, which represents for him a natural synthesis and not a departure point, defining himself as classic...

Follow the evolution of the site
There will be proposed regularly on the site temporary exhibitions and previews organised with a day long forum by the intermediary of exchanges on his Facebook page dedicated to This page will be a place for meeting and exchanging, a virtual gallery which will eventually lead to collaborations with some galleries.


All the photographs on this site are subject to copyright regulations. This is why we are proposing here some sample pictures without restrictions to promote the site and which can be used, if you wish, to illustrate your text.
(click on the picture to download it).
If you would like a higher definition or an alternative, please contact Thierry Samuel.

Street Photography
Tour Eiffel
New York

Press contact :
Thierry Samuel
+33 678 644 880