Géraldine de Haan Photographer: ‘Along the way’

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Family, Imagination, Photography, Visual ArtsLeave a Comment

Géraldine De Haan, photographer and friend

Geraldine is holding a circular photograph in which a moving figure is swirling.

Geraldine de Haan with one of her photographic works. Photo taken by Michel Maliarevsky for La Republique

I’m lucky to know Géraldine. She is an extraordinary photographer and a stalwart friend. She works tirelessly and quietly at her own photography, but is essential to the Quinzaine de l’Image organised by Peleyre Association and John Eden. She also curates art exhibitions brilliantly.

I know. She helped me with my Corpus exhibition at Peleyre.

ALONG THE WAY or ‘En cours de route’

The photo shows the legs and lower body of a young woman who is swirling a white semi-transparent sheet of fabric around the top on her body so that it appears to be disintegrating

Woman in movement

Geraldine de Haan‘s own exhibition titled ‘En cours de route’ – ‘Along the Way’ opened at Atelier20 in Tarbes last night. It is wonderful. Do go and see it. It is mind-opening work. It is reviewed in La République by Michel Maliarevesky.

Géraldine explains her work in her own words.

“It’s a group of work about the ephemeral  body, the creative process, and the way I appreciate my home here in France. For “En cours de route” I drew from my series created over the past 35 years, which works well in the intimacy of the Atelier 20 gallery space. Living far from my origins has given me the necessary perspective and distance to realise these projects. While my work is largely narrative and autobiographical the emotions it evokes are easily recognizable to others.”

Home is where one starts from

Photo shows a young woman with shut eyes and her head ttilted back slightly. Across her face is the shadow of anothr woman in profile

Geraldine’s sister

“1984, a Sunday afternoon at my parents’ house; I take pictures of my sisters close by. I realize that I have never approached people so closely, at least not so easily and naturally. Working in this familiar context makes me realise right away that it is important for me to have a connection with what I experience in my work.”

Recycling the blues. Cyanotypes

A baby's christening robe is transparent against a lit backgound

Epiphany. Dawn (L’Aube)

“Recycling the blues, the subject and the look of the images, are a play on words. The blue colour of Cyanotypy has an ephemeral quality. Using some 19th century techniques, I discovered the pleasure of preparing my own papers. There is a whole artisanal approach to producing images from negatives that I still like.”

The cyanotype process was invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel (1792-1871), astronomer, physicist, English chemist. This process is based on the sensitivity of iron salts to light. The cyanotype was later used by architects and engineers for a simple and fast duplication of their plans (architectural blueprints) and technical drawings.


A round tin plate contains the heads of two sheep facing each other.

Exodus. Epiphanies and Revelations

“Born into a Dutch Protestant family, I am familiar with the Bible. On Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday the Jewish people planned their hasty departure from Egypt by preparing to eat lamb (Now celebrated as the Passover.) On Good Friday, the butcher in Plaisance – near where I now live – had lambs’ heads ready to be grilled. It was an evocation of instant history for me. The intimacy of the image, the look of this animal, cancels out the violence of the massacre.

“Following up an unexpected result after an exposure, I made some series on the moving body. I work intuitively, the realisation of a project is done after a period of experimentation in my lab. This creative process is varied; my work is in silver/digital and 19th century photographic techniques.”

Un matin très tôt/ Early one morning

Geraldine is shown taking a photograph of herself in an old glass mirror. The sun is lighting up the back of her head and casting a shadow on the glass

Early one morning

“Early one morning – I saw a huge shadow falling across the the mirror in my room.  It made me laugh so I took my picture, with the shadow and reflections.

A little moment of happiness in my home in the presence of light . . . it brings me strength through the harmony of its rooms, its age is reassuring yet it gives me a future.






Par une soirée tranquille/ on a quiet evening

The photo shows an avenue lined by pollarded trees and rows of neo-classical statues catching the last rays of the winter sun.

On a quiet evening

“Visiting Herrenhausen, near Hanover, in winter, as the twilight fell very quickly over the garden, I had the impression that the statues were beginning to live their own lives.”

The Quinzaine de l’image and  Peleyre Gallery and Association

Geraldine told me how much she has gained from her work with the Quinzaine exhibition since 2011 and how it has encouraged her own work and introduced her to  other artists and photographers. It has been inspiring  for her as it has also for me. The Quinzaine and Peleyre make a very significant contribution to art and photography in this region.

Geraldine’s exhibition: “Along the Way”

We went to the opening tonight. Geraldine’s work is spiritual, without religiosity,  it’s finely crafted, but powerful, it’s subtle and straightforward, it’s reverential and ordinary, it’s serious and light, it’s beautiful, it’s strong. It is something to see because you’ll always remember the images. It’s a lovely space and the photos are well displayed. It gives you an idea of the diversity of Geraldine’s work. You can see her website here.



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