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« PhotoGraphism : Crossed Views »

« PhotoGraphism : Crossed Views »

A short introduction to the approach and techniques used

by Karine Gadré, PhD in Astronomy of the University of Toulouse, Founder and Director of the Culture Diff' company,
and Monique Samson, interior designer and graphic designer, Founder and Director of the EcoGraph' company,
both co-creators and co-leaders of Smart AI E.I.G. (Economic Interest Grouping)

The encounter between an artist (Monique Samson, interior designer and graphic designer) and a scientist (Karine Gadré, astronomer and photographer) led to the birth of a new form of artistic expression: Digital PhotoGraphism, which is in direct line with an artistic practice called « Polaroid Art », born in the 1970s and consisting in altering the classic process of developing instant silver shots (1).

Similarly, Digital PhotoGraphism consists in developing digital images well beyond the now traditional derrawtization process, using image processing algorithms developed by contemporary mathematicians and physicists (2). This is followed by the creation of a new artistic language made up of signs, each offering a graphic reinterpretation of the real world (3). This is evidenced by this set of 27 graphic works divided into two collections - Contours and Color Escape:

« The works which make up the Contours collection extract from the original photograph the abundance of details that characterizes it. They highlight the constituent elements of the surrounding landscape, the possible presence of monuments, vegetation, habitats, living beings, etc. »

Coteau en hiver

« Côteau en hiver »
(Extract from the Contours collection)

« The works from the Color Escape collection borrow from the initial photograph the richness of the colours that compose it. They combine the characteristic colours of the surrounding landscape – sky, landscape, habitat, vegetation, etc. at the time of shooting, giving it an impression of movement, of evolution over time. »

Fleurs d'un jour

« Fleurs d’un jour »
(Extract from the Color Escape collection)

The photographs that gave rise to the Contours and Color Escape collections were all acquired from great sites in the Occitania region, southwestern France: prehistoric caves, medieval villages, castles, churches, cloisters, museums, Lauragais plain, Canal du Midi, Haute Vallée de l'Aude, Pyrénées, côte Vermeille, etc., under an appropriate angle and light (4).

The acquisition of these photographs required extensive cartographic research, frequent hikes, both during the day and at night, in cold, dry, wet or hot weather, weighted with an imposing yet compact equipment (5). The processing of these shots using dedicated software (a derawtiser software) was accompanied by the writing of a text or poem leading the reader-spectator to other spaces, in other times... These space-time journeys are the primary reason for these very special shots (6).

Some of these photographs were then submitted to various image processing algorithms developed by researchers at the GREYC Laboratory (ENSICAEN, University of Caen & CNRS) (7). Initially, these scripts aim to improve the quality of an image - the sharpness of the contours in this case – or to extract relevant information – including color information. They are frequently used in the fields of medical imaging and observational astronomy. In this context, these scripts, applied to a digital photograph rich in finely resolved details and colours that correspond to reality, and combined with imagination and artistic creativity, offer an accentuated and/or distorted – in any case stylised – representation of the visible world (8).

The scientific and technological achievements combined with a contemporary artistic approach allow PhotoGraphism to offer a renewed vision of the surrounding Nature. It thus asserts itself as a new figurative art at the frontiers of abstraction: the references and the recognizable disappear in favour of visible effects, geometric shapes, pure or abundant lines, unique or intertwined colours.


« Thwarted love »
(Original photography)


« Arbre bleu »
(Resulting work of art, Color Escape collection)

Some of these graphic works were the subject of an opening and an exhibition, from May 17 to June 17, 2019, at the Galerie Dominique C. of the Château d'Auriac-sur-Vendinelle (Haute-Garonne). The wonder and enthusiasm generated by the discovery of this new art offering a new perspective on the surrounding Nature, encouraged us to continue our creative process. In August 2019, our works were exhibited in the square courtyard of the Château des Ducs de Joyeuse in Couiza (Aude), as part of the Festival International du Film Insolite organised in Rennes-le-Château (Aude). In addition, the work entitled « Allée des poètes » was chosen by the organisers of the Salon de la Photo 2019 to illustrate the theme « Dualité(s) » (9). It was therefore exhibited from 7 to 11 November 2019 at Paris Porte de Versailles. Other projects are gradually taking shape, other works are being designed...

An exhibition catalogue has been designed for these events. The original photograph and the corresponding graphic work of art are shown opposite. Its title: « PhotoGraphism: a new artistic language » (10). A unique signature: The KMoon.

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(1) Introduction to Polaroïd Art on Wikipedia
(2) Joseph Fourier (1768 - 1830), a French mathematician and physicist, laid the foundations of the signal theory using a mathematical tool he had developed, the Fourier transformation. Since then, this theory has greatly evolved, to the point of being used in many scientific disciplines, foremost among them Astronomy.
(3) « In general, language can be defined as the ability to institute any object as a sign » (source Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales)
(4) A place - a light - a shooting angle. This is the philosophy that drives Karine Gadré's photographic work.
(5) The shooting equipment is essentially composed of SIGMA cameras whose FOVEON sensor and dedicated lenses offer a detail resolution and a color reproduction worthy of medium format cameras.
(6) The desire to address our current knowledge of Nature from a graphic angle has led Karine Gadré's photographic work, which can be freely consulted within the PhotoExploration section.
(7) GREYC, Digital Science Research Laboratory
(8) The introduction of photography in the 19th century had freed painters from the representation of reality and allowed the advent of new artistic styles such as cubism, pointillism, impressionism and fauvism. Similarly, the adoption of signal and image processing algorithms allows the photographer to access new fields of creativity.
(9) The PhotoGraphism « Allée des Poètes » at the Salon de la Photo 2019, Paris Porte de Versailles.
(10) This catalogue in paper format is available on this Webpage for 45 euros.