A Photographer's Vision of Bodies in Motion

A Photographer's Vision of Bodies in Motion

At the National Library of France, known as the BNF, a new exhibition reveals a lively and animated world presented in a way that only photography could capture. The exhibition is called 'Vertige du corps' ('Body Vertigo') and it is a retrospective of certain works created by the photographer Etienne Bertrand Weill, who died in 2001.

Right after World War II, the photographer Weill was a fixture of the avant-garde scene in Paris, and it is here that he developed relationships with the performing artists whom he would photograph in action. One such artist, a talented mime named Etienne Decroux, developed a whole new repertoire of body movement that inspired Weill to create his own artistic innovation: the metaform. The metaform was Weill's attempt to convey the movement of the body through still photographs.

Etienne Bertrand Weill would go on to incorporate these metaform photographs into live performances, showing the different ways in which various forms of art could interact with each other.

Part of the magic of Weill's work is its timeless nature. Looking back at many of his photographs, spectators may think that they are seeing works created by modern artists, who have countless technological advantages over the artists of the mid-20th century. Yet Weill did not have the luxury of computers or Photoshop to aid him in constructing his stories of movement. Instead, he used his purely photographic talents to bring his images to life.

As a result, this exhibition has both artistic and historical value as visitors will see just how much could be accomplished by using film and a little ingenuity. Guests staying at one of the Grands Hotels Parisiens can discover this magic for themselves at the BNF from September 16 until November 18, 2012.