Ad alert Friday, December 19th 2008
“The Photographer” consisting of portraits of the world's most famous photographers © Baume & Mercier
The brand embarked on an ambitious project to date, commissioning a book and companion exhibit, called “The Photographer”, consisting of portraits of the world’s most famous photographers.
Baume & Mercier’s mission is to be “a watchmaker in tune with its times,” says CEO Michel Nieto. With that in mind, the brand embarked on an ambitious project to date, commissioning a book and companion exhibit, called The Photographer, consisting of portraits of the world’s most famous photographers. The project photographer, Gerard Rancinan, and author, journalist Caroline Gaudriault, were on hand for the exhibit premiere at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris last fall. It was hung with large portraits of some of the world’s grand masters of photography, including Patrick Demarchelier, David LaChapelle, Albert Watson, Antonin Kratochvil and David Burnett … 11 photographers in all which, if you include Rancinan, represent the 12 hours of the day.
The photographer and his art
Rancinan and his team travelled the world to capture the photographers in their own milieu, taking portraits that would reveal something about the photographer and his art. “This time, they found themselves alone in front of the lens, with no artifice, at the very heart of their private lives,” says Rancinan, who contributes to magazines such as Paris Match, Photo and Life Magazine, and exhibits in galleries and museums.
During the sessions, Gaudriault collected the stories of each photographer, recounting the voyage in the book. For the exhibit, the Palais Tokyo Mezzanine was transformed into a kind of print shop in the process of making the book. The photographers’ portraits were recreated on large, sometimes unfinished pages that floated in the air as they “dried.” Some were printed in large format (1.70 x 1.50 m), marked up, underlined, stained and printed, to give visitors the impression of seeing the pages of an imaginary book in preparation.
The same heritage
“When I shoot a picture, I stop time,” Rancinan told IW Ladies at the event. “It’s a big responsibility. My camera is like a box with ghosts.” The crew took hundreds of photos for the project, choosing one of each photographer to be included in the book. “We chose the most powerful, not the most jolie,” he emphasizes.
“Baume & Mercier shares a heritage with the art of photography that is based on strong values,” says Nieto. “These values are proximity, timelessness, memory, technology, quality, expertise, universality and accessibility.” In the book’s introduction, Neito writes: “I love to think that the company I direct embodies a similar quality of timelessness, synonymous with not only history and tradition, but also extremely high-quality, state-of-the-art technology.”
Baume & Mercier will relaunch its Hampton collection this year. For example, the ladies’ watches in the collection, says Neito, will be more sleek and elegant, with options including mother-of-pearl. The Photographer was published by Abrams, USA. ■