John Batho


"Deauville, a unique place where light plays an essential role

Born in 1939, in Normandy, John Batho began photographing in 1961. Beyond the factual and the subject, his work is based on the color, on its power of attraction, its specificity, its way of disturbing or surprising the perception . The color is not really seized, it rather seizes the one who looks at it. Original, it is not reduced to the image of itself. It is photographed however, the photographer brings back the effects of it, prolongs the vibration of it. John Batho took advantage of the invention of digital printing. Its freedom, its precision allowed him, since 1993, to develop his work and to perfect his previous works.

In 1977, John Batho began photographing the parasols of Deauville, at a time when black and white dominated the photographic production exhibited in museums. The photographer is then in full research and in search of "places of colors". He wanted to register color for "what it is ", "a constitutive and constructive data of the photographic image". The beach of Deauville is a must. "I don't know of any other beach where the order of color is so present and so randomly distributed. In close-up, in fragments by aligning them, he restores the forms and color variations with a unique sensitivity and principles of series. For the first time, during the summer of 2015, the first retrospective of John Batho's parasols showed some forty of his shimmering large-format works, all done in Deauville.

For John Batho, " photographing these parasols, their shapes and colors, is an attempt to reconstruct how the architecture of color is organized in space. It is to construct color rhythms and share them in a joyful way, finding the same spontaneity that a can of paint spilled on the beach would provoke. The umbrellas of Deauville have been photographed in an episodic way for many years, he says. My purpose is not linked to an iconographic preoccupation: the parasols are a motif that, constantly taken up, allows us to experience the gaze. To face a subject like that obliges to think of what still surprises, to reflect on the desire to add, to photograph again, whereas at first sight it always seems the same. It is a reflection on the insistence of the perception, on the variations of the light, on the unforeseen of the motive, on the astonishment to meet what had not been seen yet. The attention to the architecture of forms and colors in space led me to question the photograph as a subject in itself. I then became preoccupied with the materiality of the image, seeking a touch of the eyes for this art that is said to be without matter, questioning its capacity to restore the tactility of the canvases and the sand, the smoothness of the sky, according to the hours and the days, in the fine light of a seashore bathing it all. "


Contact us:
+33 (0)2 31 14 40 00

Our tourist information offices :

Résidence de l'Horloge
Quai de l'Impératrice Eugénie
14800 Deauville
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Place Jean Mermoz
14640 Villers-sur-Mer
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32 bis avenue Michel d'Ornano
14910 Blonville-sur-Mer
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40 rue du Général Leclerc
14113 Villerville
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20 Place Lemercier
14800 Touques
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Promenade Louis Delamare
(behind the first-aid post)
14800 Tourgéville
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