Monsieur Contraste and The Church of Photography, Durham


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Dans les Moments de Vérité

A photograph from the Life on Mars and La Nature Humaine series that talks about facing reality and be honest with oneself.


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Welcome to Mars

The title photograph of the Life on Mars series. Shot on the only Mars on Earth.


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Cuba Contra la Guerra

Between Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba, in the middle of nowhere as I was doing some drive by shooting. July 2003.


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We Won't Be Silent

From the Life on Mars series. Shot in front of the Pentagon in Mars 2007.


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Danger Zone

From the Life on Mars series. Shot in D.C. July 31, 2011 during the filming of Monsieur Contraste, and when the original Debt Ceiling negotiation was raging.


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Close to Epiphany

From the Life on Mars series. Shot at Ground Zero on January 1st, 2010. This is a miracle photograph totally real but quite advanced technically in order to reproduce on a print the gradation of color temperature that this landscape offers. The creation of this print for the show Relocations in Greensboro, is featured in Monsieur Contraste.


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Like Rockefeller

From the Manhattan series. Shot on December 27, 2009 in a downtime moment while on the top of the Rock for a portrait shoot. This is a rare moment in the life of a photographer, when all the stars are aligned and the camera ready. This print for the show Relocations in Greensboro, is featured in Monsieur Contraste.


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Au Meilleur des Mondes

From the Urban Legends series. Shot in 1991 From the Cimetière de Puteaux, looking at La Défense. This photograph illustrates the cleavage between the insatiable advance of modernity and the constraints from by history. The creation of this print for the show Relocations in Greensboro, is featured in Monsieur Contraste.


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Mario's Window

From the Manhattan series. Shot in July 2008 from the window at Mario's loft at 50 Greene St, in Soho. Thanks to Mario I was able to enjoy New York and gather a rather good collection of photographs of this fascinating living myth. This is quintessential Soho from the time before the real estate moguls transformed it into Disneyland for the 1%, and a circus for the cannon fodder.


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From the Manhattan series. Stollen moment on April 14, 2012 at the Abercombie and Fitch store on 5th Avenue.


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Eveil Matisse avec Béatrice

A photograph from La Nature Humaine series. A study of light, female curves and intensity.


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Cervantes is Among Us

A photograph from La Nature Humaine series. This unlikely photograph is totally natural. Shot at Duke Gardens in October 2004. It is featured in Monsieur Contraste and illustrates how there are political implications in a lot of artistic works.


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On Paye Content

From the Life on Mars series. Shot in in May 1992, the day of the first verdict in the Rodney King trial. Tension was palpable in this barber shop of Wilmington Street in raleigh. Read an entry on my blog about this photograph.


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What Kind of Victor?

Shot in Havana in July 2003. Beautiful tone on a silver gelatin print.


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Unsquare Danse

A photograph from Hit Bull, Win Steak series. A documentary work portraying the Durham Bulls in their last season (1994) IN Durham Athletic Park as the ideal minor league team. This is the subject of a book to be published anyway, when we find a publisher. The narrative is by Clyde Edgerton.


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Un Soir à alensole

A photograph from the Douce France series. Shot on the plateau de Valensole, between Manosque and les Gorges du Verdon, in July 1984. This photograph gains tone seen in print where it exhibits some very soothing virtues.
Jean-Christian Rostagni
Monsieur Contraste
The “Church of Photography” is where Monsieur Contraste, the artist, dependably meets his audience, bypassing any filter. This exhibit is a Mega Church of Photography. It is destined to accompany the showing of Monsieur Contraste, the film, thereby allowing the audience to see for itself what warranted this documentary film from an artistic standpoint, and discover the uniqueness of Monsieur Contraste's work.

The selection presented goes through the different yet essential aspects of Monsieur Contraste’s photographs, notably those evoked in the film but with an emphasis on what is especially important in the current political atmosphere, notably here in North Carolina. The contrast among those pieces is one of the reasons that give Monsieur Contraste his name, as well as how they differ from Monsieur Contraste’s cultural and political environment. Monsieur Contrast is a multi facetted personage, and this exhibit reflects that.