exhibition, Paris, photography

To Each His/Her Kollar

François Kollar, Porteur de

François Kollar, Rail trackman, Arles, 1933, Réattu Museum.

Must one have worked as a blue-collar worker in order to accurately photograph them? Such a demand is rarely formulated when it comes to legionnaires, pearl divers, politicians or prostitutes, yet the idea imbues everything that has been written about François Kollar (at the Jeu de Paume, until May 22, 2016), from the tagline “Un ouvrier du regard / A Working Eye” to the press review. It might be relevant –if it was shown and sustained, if we were graced with explanations demonstrating how Kollar’s photographic eye differs formally and esthetically from photographers such as Kilip, Hine, Doisneau… who never clocked in at any factory, to my knowledge, whereas Kollar did, at Renault’s, in Billancourt (if only for two years). But the actual difference between those “sons of Kulaks” (not to mention others like the very bourgeois Thiollier) and Kollar-the-former-manual-worker is never argued for, and the moniker rings hollow, like an all-too-convenient mantra. Continue reading