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Agence VU - Bruno Boudjelal
Bruno Boudjelal

Franco-Algerian. Born in 1961 in Montreuil. Lives near Paris.

As a Frenchman of Algerian origins, photography for Bruno Boudjelal is a lifestyle in which he endlessly questions his own identity and confronts us with our own.

When his father decided to return to Algeria, he went with him and began to uncover a country, a family, landscapes that spoke to him, a world scarred by violence and individuals whose conversations forced him to question his sense of self. Creating both a diary and testimony, Boudjelal travelled Algeria for ten years. He used both black and white and colour and became increasingly aware of his subjective point of view; one marked by his personal history but curious enough to bring daily life into perspective.

When his travels in Algeria were over, he structured his experiences in the form of an exhibition, a projection and a book, and then decided to concentrate on Africa. Stretched between two continents and two cultures, he is nothing less than generous and shows his capacity to understand and transcribe the complex problems between North and South.


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Stories

Frantz Fanon (2013)

« This series is based on Franz Fanon; a Martinique born French-Algerian psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary and writer whose work is influential in the fields of post colonial studies. Hew lived mainly in Algeria – where he worked several years as a psychiatrist in Blida Hospital -, in Martinique and in Ghana. I felt it was important, at a point where Algeria is celebrating its fiftieth birthday, to consider the thoughts and life story of the author of “The Wretched of the earth” (1961). His relation with Algeria, his position as one of the most important post-colonial thinker and founder of Pan Africanism, and finally the story of his journey as a human being.” Bruno...

Portraits in Drill Hall, Johannesburg (2010)

Sixteen portraits are the only images that I have successfully completed during my fifteen-day residency in the Drill Hall neighborhood. Hoping to benefit from a morning performance some artists were doing in town, I followed with the intention of working alongside them in the street. The people were completely surprised by the artists they stopped to watch. It was then that I took out my camera and captured the sixteen portraits. This resulting series was a unique experience, one I never again had the opportunity to photograph while in Johannesburg.

Algeria, scrapbooks (2009)

Between 1993 and 2003, Bruno Boudjelal has kept travel diaries about his repeated journeys to Algeria. Between travel diary and personal diary, these booklets show at the same time a personal experience and Algeria’s present reality. -- "The aim is not to show, nor to demonstrate. Neither is it to describe, to prove anything, to simplify a complicated situation, or to pretend to understand everything and to bring back perfect images. The aim is, before all, to take photographs in one of the countries where this is most difficult, almost impossible. More importantly, the aim is to say plainly, clearly and with modesty how the life of an individual can cross the path of History....

Who knows tomorrow, Ghana (2008)

We started this series with my friend Nii by wondering about Pan-Africanism and African identity. First, we chose to focus on his own country, Ghana, homeland of Kwamé Nkrumah (one of the leaders of the Ghana independence). We made two one-month trips, from North to South and from East to West, without any precise itenerary, yet with those burning questions on self-purpose. This first series is a part of a more important project which will lead us to Algeria (next year), DRC (homeland of Lumumba), Egypt (Nasser), Burkina Faso (Thomas Sankara), and in other countries strongly associated with this movement of Pan-Africanism and African identity.

Hotels réunis, France (2006)

Twenty four families live in the Hotels RĂ©unis, furnished hotel in the 20th district of Paris. Many of them live together in tiny rooms from 9 to 13m2. By legal decision this hotel had to shut down due to the insalubrity of the accomodations. They are thus squatters in spite of them and are assigned in justice by their owner. For the families without legal papers, they know they're going to be thrown out. During the summer of 2006, some families acquired their legal papers,... some didn't.

Mona's summers (2004)

Bruno Boudjelal gives us a personal project. In Mona’s summers, the photographer follows children in their play and their laughter. The photos are fragments of dreams, memories of childhood. The choice of black and white frames makes it all a kind of reminiscence of the past. Like setting time for what could not be.

Restless Days: Algeria from East to West (2001-2003) (2003)

Algerian chronicles of a return (1993-2003) In June 1993, I went to Algeria for the first time for a photo shoot on Algiers. Yet, this first trip to Algeria had a special ring to me. It was the first time I would set foot on my father’s native soil, so far unknown to me. My father is Algerian and my mother’s French, but my Algerian origins were kept hidden from me until 10 years ago. I had never met my father’s family and knew nothing about them. The only thing I was aware of was my father’s birthplace, found in the family book, and that was enough to find the place. On a May day in 1993, I met my family in a little village in the Setif region, where a row of weeping women...

It is not what it seems, Africa (2003)


Algeria, Back in Bentalha, a few years after the massacre (2002)


Bechaia, Naima, Malika and other women (1998)

In 1998, I decided to start photographing several generations of Maghrebi women in their families. It’s after working on suburbs that I decided to turn my attention to these women. It appeared necessary to me to photograph women, to show the relationship between different generations of women and their reactions to the world in which they are growing. For a long time I thought that I had chosen to turn my attention at these women only because of the culture clash - Western and Eastern - which generates more conflicts between mothers and daughters and more generally between parents and children, but also the one that generates the greatest Europe fears and fantasies. I thought it was high...

Algeria, Restless Days - Journey to Setif (1993-1997) (1997)

Algerian chronicles of a return (1993-2003) In June of 1993, I traveled to Algeria for the first time to work on a photographic reportage on Alger. This first trip, however, bore much more meaning than I had expected it to. It was the first time I trod the ground my father had before me, the ground I had never known before then. My father is Algerian and my mother French, but my Algerian origins have always been silent up to 10 years ago. I had never encountered the family on my father's side so I was always left in the dark. All I knew of was my father's birthplace, quickly learned glancing over a family register. This was enough to find him though, one day in 1993, in a small village...

Burma (1996-1999) (1996)

Under the control of the Military junta of Myanmar, lies down a country named Burma. A secluded country, we know little about the lives of Burmese. This report allows us to take a look on a society with a secular culture and obvious problems.

Gurbet (Exile) or the Turkish community in France (1994)

Far from the community decline of common places, Bruno Boudjelal shows us a population in search of a point of reference. How to live when were not home anymore? Should we rebuild elsewhere, to sublimate? Difficult questions. The photographer paints a portrait of a socio-ethnic group where joy and sorrow emerges from daily life.

Books

Unquiet Days / Jours intranquilles

In May 1993, I went to Algeria for the very first time, to make a photographic series on Algiers.
This first journey in Algeria was echoing in me in a very particular manner. It was the first time I walked upon my father’s homeland and I didn’t know anything about it.
Indeed, my father is Algerian and my mother is French, but my Algerian origins were hidden to me till I was 16 years old, and I never met my paternal family. I just knew the birthplace of my father, quickly read in the official family record book, but it was enough to find them, a day of May 1993, in a little village of the Setif region, where a line of crying women welcomed me.
Text by: Bruno Boudjelal / Salima Ghezali

Publisher: Autograph ABP (2009)

Africultures

Donner à découvrir, connaître, apprécier la photographie africaine, c’est là le but de la collection Afriphoto. Créer cette nouvelle collection découle d’une volonté de donner un espace d’expression à la créativité de photographes africains et originaires de ce continent ; donner à voir une photographie actuelle ou plus ancienne, révélatrice de visions très personnelles d’artistes sur leur monde, sur un continent trop souvent vu sous un seul angle. En quatre livrets par an, proposés sous forme de coffret, cette coédition avec Africultures offre un autre regard sur le continent africain.

Publisher: Filigranes Éditions (2004)
32 pages
Size: 12x16,5 cm
ISBN :2-914381-80-8   

Gurbet : Turcs d'ici

Bruno Boudjelal souhaitait photographier les émigrés turcs ; Elele souhaitait recueillir près d'un quart de présence turque en France. Nos aspirations se sont rencontrées. Pendant un an Bruno Boudjelal a arpenté les routes d'une carte de France définie et préparée ensemble. Son regard, parfois taciturne, souvent mélancolique, toujours sensible, nous donne ici des images de vies et d'histoires.
Gaye Petek-Salom
Text by: Christian Caujolle, Bekir Yildiz

Publisher: Editions de l'Imprimeur (1996)
149 pages
Size: 24x28 cm
ISBN :2910735095   

Awards


    1998 - FIACRE Grant

    1998 - Foundation France Liberty Grant

    1993 - Laureate of individual aid to the creation

Exhibitions



DĂ©tours-Retour (Paris)
From 2014-11-04 to 2014-11-30

\"Détours-retour\" is conceived as the self-proclaimed end of Bruno Boudjelal’s Algerian adventure. Two carefully constructed black and white sequences of square format photographs form the framework of the project. The first, halting and multi-facetted, from Blida to Algiers, is entitled Frantz Fanon (the champion of intercultural journeys), while the second, Retour, is a more peaceful and singular sequence set in Marseille. Between the two, less structured and less deliberately identifiable fragments appear. Some are in colour, and depict scenes that are less clearly located in...

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The quirky travel (Saint-Brieuc)
From 2014-10-11 to 2014-11-02

“Among all my imaginary travels, one of the most important to me today is a travel around Parisian suburb. I was born there and I still live there, and that one word « suburb » brings to mind immediately the idea of sadness, violence, poverty, depression, grey, cold… This suburb we turn a blind eye and the back to as we look towards Paris, I’d like to wander all around it. Explore these places I roam everyday, bring a new perspective to the things we don’t see anymore, travel where no one travels, in this suburb which seems so familiar and that we cross so often without never...

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Disquiet days (Marseille)
From 2013-10-10 to 2013-10-27

A narrative has gradually built up over the course of both time and the various trips Bruno Boudjelal has made to Algeria, spread out over a period between 1997 and 2002, combining narration and documentation; a narrative using images which attempts to approach a highly complex situation. And the more complex this situation actually is, the more interesting the diffraction of the points of view becomes. From a trip taken in an attempt to find his father’s family in the Sétif region, through to Bentalha, the site of a massacre during which 400 people died in a single night, this brave...

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L'enfant et la photographie (Paris)
From 2012-11-14 to 2013-02-17


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Algérie Je T'Aime - Disquiet days (Nanterre)
From 2012-11-09 to 2013-03-24

A narrative has gradually built up over the course of both time and the various trips Bruno Boudjelal has made to Algeria, spread out over a period between 1997 and 2002, combining narration and documentation; a narrative using images which attempts to approach a highly complex situation. And the more complex this situation actually is, the more interesting the diffraction of the points of view becomes. From a trip taken in an attempt to find his father’s family in the Sétif region, through to Bentalha, the site of a massacre during which 400 people died in a single night, this brave...

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Algérie, clos comme on ferme un livre ? (Chalon-sur-Saône)
From 2012-10-20 to 2013-01-20

The Nicéphore museum presents the new work of Bruno Boudjelal about Algeria.\r\r"It is understandable that others may not have had other solutions than to return to their birth country. It is commonplace: one foot in, one foot out, always limping, the journey to the country is inevitably a sentimental one. Deception is never far away when we recount a personal experience. From the original wound, to now regular trips, Bruno Boudjelal has appointed himself the narrator to his own story. Curiosity and constant doubt lie just behind the surface of each image. It is not so much the return and...

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Disquiet days (ST PETER PORT)
From 2012-06-22 to 2012-05-25

French of Algerian descent, for Bruno Boudjelal the practice of photography is simply a way of life that questions his double identity. In 1993, he discovers, for the first time, Algeria, native land of his father to which he travels to alone to meet a paternal family unknown to him until then. He successfully convinces his father to return a few months later, after 45 years of exile. As an escort, he simultaneously discovers the history of his family and the current reality of the country. Ten years of exploration follow, from 1993 to 2003, that will lead him to Setif, where he goes to...

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Disquiet days (Guernesey)
From 2012-05-25 to 2012-06-22

A narrative has gradually built up over the course of both time and the various trips Bruno Boudjelal has made to Algeria, spread out over a period between 1997 and 2002, combining narration and documentation; a narrative using images which attempts to approach a highly complex situation. And the more complex this situation actually is, the more interesting the diffraction of the points of view becomes. From a trip taken in an attempt to find his father’s family in the Sétif region, through to Bentalha, the site of a massacre during which 400 people died in a single night, this brave...

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Disquiet days (Sète)
From 2012-05-17 to 2012-06-03

A narrative has gradually built up over the course of both time and the various trips Bruno Boudjelal has made to Algeria, spread out over a period between 1997 and 2002, combining narration and documentation; a narrative using images which attempts to approach a highly complex situation. And the more complex this situation actually is, the more interesting the diffraction of the points of view becomes. From a trip taken in an attempt to find his father’s family in the Sétif region, through to Bentalha, the site of a massacre during which 400 people died in a single night, this brave...

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Grands ensembles, 1960-2010 (Caen)
From 2012-03-06 to 2012-04-06


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Family Trips (Toulouse)
From 2012-02-02 to 2012-02-28

Since I’ve already started a photographic project in Algeria during my last trip in 1993 (a journey which lead to the publication of the book “Disquiet days”, a chronic of a return to Algeria), I decided to start - in parallel - a correspondence with my aunts by sending them images of my childhood in France. Images of my every day life, images of my family. To this visual correspondence I added letters, short videos et super 8 films as well as the many images my aunts had sent me.\r\rToday, I have decided to present these two chapters in one exhibition .

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Disquiet days (Le Creusot)
From 2012-01-12 to 2012-02-18

In May 1993, I went to Algeria for the first time to make a photographic report on Algiers. It was the first time I crowd the land where my father was born and which I knew nothing until then. Indeed, my father is Algerian and my mother is French, but my Algerian origin has always been hidden and until sixteen years, I've never met my paternal family which I knew nothing. I did not know that the birthplace of my father, but that was enough for find them, a day in May 1993, in a small village in the Setif region, where a row of weeping women greeted me with a volley of youyous! This first...

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New Cartographies : Algeria - France - UK (Manchester)
From 2011-04-08 to 2011-06-05

Set against the backdrop of recent social turmoil and a complex colonial and political history, the exhibition New Cartographies : Algeria - France - UK showcases the work of ten emerging and established artists from the three countries - including Bruno Boudjelal. Their work, put together, are charting the influences of family, memory, migration and cultural heritage on identity, and are mapping an intricating a web of connections across the Mediterranean sea and beyond.

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Identity Bluffs (Amsterdam)
From 2011-02-12 to 2011-03-27

Slideshow of Bruno Boudjelal's work "Turbulent days", in the group exibition Identity Bluffs, with works of Sara Blockland, Mahmoud Khaled, Lucia Nimcova and Nii ObodaĂŻ.\r\rTurbulent days\r\rA narrative has gradually built up over the course of both time and the various trips Bruno Boudjelal has made to Algeria, spread out over a period between 1997 and 2002, combining narration and documentation; a narrative using images which attempts to approach a highly complex situation. And the more complex this situation actually is, the more interesting the diffraction of the points of view becomes....

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Goudron- Tanger- Le Cap ou l’impossible voyage (Alger )
From 2010-10-28 to 2010-12-03

"For nearly five years as I travel around Africa from north to south in an impossible journey. Initially this project should take me a few months at most one year. Now I realize that these paths, I borrow freely thought, do not exist. The roads and rail networks are nonexistent or very poor condition, closed borders, the regions at war, mined." These roads are vital for Africans. Opening up Africa's foremost enable its inhabitants to move, exchange, or trade freely within their own space. This is also a flagship project of the African Union to build and renovate existing highways between...

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Goudron Tanger-Le Cap ou L'impossible voyage (Bastia)
From 2010-05-27 to 2010-07-13


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Goudron Tanger-Le Cap ou l’impossible voyage (Bamako)
From 2009-11-07 to 2009-12-07

For nearly five years as I travel through Africa from north to south in a journey impossible. Initially this project was to take me a few months at most one year. Today I realize that these roads, I thought to borrow freely, do not exist. Roads and railways are nonexistent or very poor condition, closed borders, the war areas, mined. Africans are not free to travel on their own continent, because at each step, the passenger becomes a victim and must pay a debt of travel in order to continue to move. I remember during a trip from Dakar to Bamako, made by bus, this Ghanaian, Abu, who worked in...

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Algeria, unquiet days (Paris)
From 2009-09-18 to 2009-11-14

In May 1993, I went to Algeria for the first time to make a photographic report on Algiers. It was the first time I crowd the land where my father was born and which I knew nothing until then. Indeed, my father is Algerian and my mother is French, but my Algerian origin has always been hidden and until sixteen years, I've never met my paternal family which I knew nothing. I did not know that the birthplace of my father, but that was enough for find them, a day in May 1993, in a small village in the Setif region, where a row of weeping women greeted me with a volley of youyous! This first...

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Jours intranquilles (VALENCE)
From 2009-05-18 to 2009-05-30


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Photo Month - Gurbet - El Maghreb exil - occident lointain (Paris)
From 2008-10-28 to 2008-11-30


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