Harry Gruyaert

Harry Gruyaert

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  • Collection “Juste entre nous”
  • Pictures : Harry Gruyaert
  • Text : Brice Matthieussent, Harry Gruyaert
  • 128 pages
  • 14 x 19 cm
  • Softcover
  • 32 colour pictures
  • French
  • ISBN : 978-2-492696-16-9
  • 20 €

Over the past few decades, Harry Gruyaert has been celebrated as a master of color photography. Born in Antwerp in 1941, his fervor for cinema found a parallel expression in photography, a field in which he carved a distinguished career, notably joining the Magnum agency in 1981.

limited edition of 40 copies

Claim your copy of the book signed by Harry Gruyaert and Brice Matthieussent, accompanied by a premium pigment ink print, 10x15cm (image size), numbered and signed by the artist – €280.

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— Belgium. Boom, 1988

about the book

Brice Matthieussent, a writer, critic, and translator, has been a friend and confidant to Harry Gruyaert for nearly forty years.

Their bond has given rise to conversations interwoven with vivid memories – Belgium, both in monochrome and then in color; the exploration of Morocco, India, the United States, Russia, Africa – peppered with astonishing or heartwarming anecdotes, humor and irony, shared admirations, and above all, the signs of a tenacious energy, a determination to uncover new landscapes, alternative ways of life, and the full potential of the then-uncharted medium of color photography some fifty years ago.

Each chapter dedicated to a country or a photographic practice explored by Harry Gruyaert – be it fashion, industry, theater, street scenes, landscapes, and beyond – opens with a nod to one of Gruyaert’s iconic images pertinent to that theme. What follows is a blend of biography with enthralling reflections on the lifelong work of this master colorist and, of course, on the art of his photography.

“It’s like magic… Harry is Belgian, and, as we know, Belgium is the second home of Surrealism. Harry delights in the grotesque, the absurd, the incongruous. He has an affinity for James Ensor’s grimacing paintings and the melancholy and disquiet found in the works of Léon Spilliaert. He once took a photo of a Magritte painting being contemplated by a bald man and a woman wearing glasses.

I believe I have solved the puzzle: Harry’s photos have the same unsettling effect on me as Ensor and Spilliaert, Magritte and Delvaux, the symbolists and surrealists who sought the magnetic fields celebrated by André Breton. My unease stemmed from Belgitude! But here’s the thing: Harry is the most jovial, or as the English say, the most companionable, friend in the world.

Warm, polite, and funny, with a penchant for jokes, he is a great storyteller who loves to hear a good yarn… until he shares some ‘incredible stroke of chance’ that had just befallen him. And then, I’m in doubt again: Surrealism suddenly makes the laws of probability implode; this ‘incredible’ thing that he’d just experienced, it could happen to no one else.

The world, with sumptuous colors that he distils into his images, its beguiling, seductive order, begins to unravel, or rather, is quietly subverted, eroded by coincidences that mark Harry Gruyaert’s existence, lacing his bright images with a hint of the uncanny, creating a slight sense of unease that, in my view, gives them their true depth.

As Harry puts it: ‘One must be wary of those who never contradict themselves.’”
Brice Matthieussent, extract.


Additional information


Simple book, Limited edition