Larry French: Stories Better Left Untold
The photographs of Larry French are not about anything in particular. They are simply about seeing. For the past ten years, the photography world has moved away from this way of working, preferring the focused consideration of projects about specific subjects created with intention. But Larry’s work hearkens more to the darkroom days when the individual image was lovingly produced as an artful object. His noir-inspired sensibility uses light and shadow to tell stories, stories where there is no ending or beginning.
Born in Indiana, Larry French is a photographer, writer, and a former executive of both the French jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels and the Italian, Gianmaria Buccellati. As a photographic artist, he is drawn to the unseen, the intangible, and the overlooked. French attended UCLA, studying under Robert Heinecken and later continued his studies at the Art Center College of Design.
His black and white images have been exhibited nationally, in exhibitions at the South Eastern Center for Photography in South Carolina, The New York Center for Photographic Art, The Los Angeles Center for Photography, the Praxis Photographic Art Center in Minneapolis and The Midwest Center for Photography. His work was recently selected for the Cartier-Bresson Passporte Prize for street photography.
His poems, essays and short stories have been widely published, appearing in various publications through out the United States, including the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and the Harper Collins Guide to College Reading.
As a jeweler, French organized eight major museum exhibitions including the Smithsonian, The Los Angeles County museum of Art, The Royal Ontario museum, the Honolulu Academy of the Arts and others. He taught extension classes on historical jewelry at the University of California at Riverside and also at the University of California at San Diego. He has lectured through out the United States, Canada and Europe. He now represents the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation, a non-profit company based in Venice, Italy. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Stories Better Left Untold
Once, at a photographic event, some friends asked a question about one of my images. I said that this was a story better left untold. They replied that this would be a good title for a series. Time has proved them right.
I have always been drawn to those questions, the untold stories that certain individual photographs can evoke. I like photographs that go further than simply what they are, or seem to be. I see this often in the work of Koudelka, Iturbide, Giacomelli and others. Images that are “open” and make the viewer think, that create a curiosity by their very existence. Images, which in many ways, can never be contained in a frame.
We all have our secrets, some of which we take to our grave, and perhaps that is for the best. In the end a secret is simply an untold story and a photograph is just another way to tell it.
I am looking for the mysteries these stories contain, but not the answers. The actual facts, the truth, reality, they all bore me. I would rather imagine than know and I prefer dreams to knowledge. I like those things that slip away or break and shatter when you try to reach out and touch them, like the reflection of the moon on a lake.
A wise friend once asked if I was sure these were other peoples stories or, since I was the photographer, were they perhaps my own? It was a fair question and I am not sure I know the answer. I am not sure I want to. – Larry French
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