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Agence VU - Pierre-Olivier Deschamps
Pierre-Olivier Deschamps

French photographer, member of Agence VU’ since 1986, lives and works mainly in Paris.

First a theater photographer, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps' work is quickly published by the daily newspaper Libération. In 1986 he joins Agence VU’ : as one of the very first members, he participates in the development of a new type of reportage that defines the photographer as an author and not simply an image producer.

For the past fifteen years, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps devotes himself more particularly to design, art craft, architecture and urban landscape in all its forms. The sharpness of his eye and his technical skills allow him to overcome the constraints of representation and underline its challenges, beyond simple photographic recording. His work thus evolves with subtlety between long-term personal projects, commissioned work and institutional collaborations. Among other major projects, he documented La Samaritaine rehabilitation project, the future sites of Grand Paris transportation network, the collections of the Musée des Confluences (Lyon), and, for the CMN, the rehabilitation of the Château de Villers-Cotterêts, which going to be the future Cité Internationale de la Francophonie.

Word Press Photo winner in 2010 for his serie "Résidence" , Pierre-Olivier Deschamps published "Architectures" (les éditions du Chêne et Arte éditions, 2007), "Maisons d'architectes à Paris" (La Martinière, 2010), "Architectures et paysages industriels, l'invention d'un patrimoine" (La Martinière 2012), "L'usage des jours" (Éditions Bernard Chauveau, 2012) and "Musée des Confluences, une collection" (Actes Sud, 2017).

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Le Corbusier on UNESCO World Heritage List (2016)

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List. Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites are spread over seven countries and were built over a period of a half-century. Unesco choose to enlist masterpieces of «creative genius». Museum and religious monument stand beside houses and large housing estate, Le Corbusier works are a testimony of what he described as “patient research”. Pierre-Olivier Deschamps made the portrait of Sainte-Marie-de-la-Tourette Convent, built in 1953 in Eveux, the Maison Ozenfant workshop and the Villa Planeix in Paris and the Maisons Jaoul in Neuilly sur Seine.

Grand Paris: Here and Now (2016)

Pierre-Olivier Deschamps went to visit 57 suburban territories which will be served in few years by the Grand Paris Express, a strategic transport project in Ile-de-France to connect various cities of the area. Spending two years travelling throughout urban and peri-urban landscapes that will be soon irrigated by a new public transport system, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps has, in this way, formed a solid base of memory before the begining of those major constructions. The photographic campaign, made with a photographic chamber, has produced a serie of more than 4000 pictures all along several hundred of kilometres. « For each place, once the setting is defined, [Pierre-Olivier Deschamps]...

France, The scars of a landscape (2015)

A few days after the killings at Charlie Hebdo’s headquarters, in Montrouge and at the Hyper Cacher of Porte de Vincennes, I wanted to draw a topography of the attacks. The overexposure of the events shown by the continuous broadcasting, over the news channels, of the pictures of the attacks creates for the passer-by a strange feeling of familiarity when visiting the places affected by the drama. Wishing to anchor my pictures in a new experience, with a new point of view, at a right distance, I had the feeling of being pushed by an effort of reappropriation of the urban landscape and its new scars. The disappearance of the signs of compassionate demonstrations is inevitable. However,...

Japan, In Praise of Shadows (2011)

"Twenty years ago, reading In Praise of Shadows by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki led me to travel to Japan to carry out an illustrated report. I left, thinking I would work with minimalism and outlines. My exile and my status of gaijin, stranger, made me understand that I was not invited to celebrate the archetypes dear to the Japanese culture, neither there nor anywhere else, but to take up the modest role of a passer-by, enjoying the light, the grain of the material, the lightness of the air, and their unexpectedness. This pure pleasure of an aesthetic which believes that “beauty is not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows”, as Tanizaki puts it, is what is still haunting me...

France, Hermès: Petit H (2010)

The prestigious luxury brand Hermes goes eco-friendly. In 2009, Hermes launched the brand petit h, which concept is to re-use post-production offcuts from the “Grand H” brand. Pascale Mussard, founder and artistic director of petit h decided to gather competences between artists and craftmen to give birth to unique pieces or limited series, which will soon be sold in various Hermes boutiques wordlwide. A Hermes bag is made from a unique piece of leather, and only in its best and smoothest part. Any other part which does not respond to the highest quality standard of the brand is rejected from production. The idea to re-use these high quality leather offcuts lead to a new eco-friendly...

Tschumi Acropolis, Greece (2010)

View of the Acropolis Museum in Athens, built by the architect Bernard Tschumi. The Greek light marks the time passing through the day and makes a giant sundial of the Acropolis Museum; it was the initial intuition of this photographic series. The contrast marked by the black and white and the shadows, the passer-by, the tourists, the amateur photographers. The daily life on the museum’s terrace and the Athenian people who look like runaway and pictorial figures in the morning light. And the shadow of the photographer and his tripod. All those things had to fill out this series. But what I couldn’t imagine, following this light swivel thread, is that the interior of the museum...

Residency (2009)

Nowadays in Paris, traces of shelters on the street for a marginalized humanity. Sometimes several hours a night or a day, sometimes weeks or whole months spent in these frail shelters. Intimate spaces separated by borders often invisible. The hot-air inlet or the niche of a wall as foundations. The imprint of the lying body. Outside and inside reversed.

Switzerland, Thermal baths (2009)

Architect: Peter Zumthor The spa of Vals, in Grisons county in Switzerland, was built between 1993 and 1997 by Peter Zumthor. This Swiss architect studied woodworking through his learning. He thought of a space where the materials used allows the water to gushes. The mineral, the centre of attention, is also essential in the creation of each of these images.

Déjà Vu or the Memory of Now (2008)

Unlike the traditional silver latent image, the digital acquisition and immediacy proclaimed me to initiate this daily photography work, but sometimes marked by moments of banality from the depicted subjects. Also, when recurrent obsessions and composition of light, solitude and counting have emerged, the first images have shown the repetition and the apparent banality- the feeling of « déjà vu » - the human conscience is bound only to sensation of an eternal present, even heavier in the past and toward the future. This apparent temporal straitjacket, the photography suddenly seem particularly conducive to demonstrate an interrogation on the contemplation, in particular the...

Seguin Island, remains of the Renault factory, France

Last remains of the Renault factory on Seguin island (in Boulogne Billancourt) before the destruction.

The furtive Museum, Paris, France

Just back from the Seguin Island and the Museum of Contemporary art in Luxembourg, where he has been for some time, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps goes on a 4x5 inch camera trip in Paris. How can you avoid postcard pictures, corrupt traditional "images d'Epinal" scenes ? By unearthing each crack of the museumlike city, standing back to look at monuments to see them as State-made view-points. Here, the photographer conjures away to privilege one detail or, create minute distortions to instil chaos, or add a collage to create a diversion. Where is he running to ? How did the Spirit of the Bastille emerge in this fashion ? Amidst the tensions dominating public areas, this delicate, almost close to...


Architectures et paysages industriels : L'invention d'un patrimoine

"L'ambition de ce livre est double : donner d’abord à voir, à travers une sélection de trente sites, un échantillonnage marquant du patrimoine industriel en France, datant du xve au xxe siècle ; proposer ensuite une histoire de l’industrie française un peu différente des récits habituels, à partir précisément de ce que peut nous apprendre ce patrimoine. Ces sites ont tous la particularité d’exister encore aujourd’hui ; les bâtiments qui les constituent et les paysages qu’ils forment ont traversé le temps jusqu’à pouvoir être photographiés au cours de l’année 2012."

Longtemps ignorés, voire méprisés, les bâtiments industriels suscitent depuis quelques années en France intérêt et reconnaissance : à mesure qu'historiens, architectes et institutions en font l'étude, veillent à leur préservation, à leur réhabilitation, ces édifices acquièrent valeur de patrimoine.

Trente sites d'exception choisis sur tout le territoire retracent ici les grandes étapes de l'histoire industrielle française à travers ses architectures singulières : corderie, manufacture de draps, forges, saline, arsenal, mines, chocolaterie, centrale nucléaire, raffinerie de pétrole...
Ces usines, qu'elles soient encore en activité ou reconverties en musée, banque ou logements, témoignent des révolutions techniques et des avancées sociales portées par l'industrie du XVè à la fin du XXè siècle.
Ces lieux ont façonné nos paysages urbains et ruraux, leurs murs racontent une histoire humaine. Ils sont une part essentielle de notre mémoire.
Text by: Jean-François Belhoste & Paul Smith

Publisher: Editions de la Martinière (2012)
272 pages
Size: 32 x 25 cm
ISBN :2732446068   

Maisons d'architectes à Paris, visites privées : De 1920 à nos jours

Ce sont des visites, parfois inédites, de maisons réalisées par des architectes des années 1920 à nos jours, à Paris et en région parisienne, que propose ce bel ouvrage, préfacé par Claude Parent. On pourra ainsi découvrir ou redécouvrir la maison-atelier Ozenfant de Le Corbusier, la maison-atelier Bachelet d'André Lurçat villa Seurat, dans le 14e arrondissement, l'hôtel Martel de Robert Mallet-Stevens dans le 16e, la maison André Bloc et la maison n°7 de Jean Prouvé à Meudon, ou encore la maison-agence de Christophe Lab dans le 19e ou la maison Trapèze de Louis Paillard à Montreuil.

Qu'elles soient historiques ou contemporaines, toutes ces réalisations illustrent l'art de vivre dans une maison d'architecte. Car cet ouvrage entend offrir un regard nouveau sur la vie domestique qui s'est installée dans ces maisons remarquables, que nous connaissons souvent à travers des photos exemptes de la vie humaine. Les habitants de ces lieux qui ont accepté de jouer le jeu nous ont ouvert leurs portes et raconté leurs histoires, toujours singulières.
Text by: Maryse Quinton et Claude Parent

Publisher: Editions de la Martinière (2010)
311 pages
Size: 2732440558


Conçu comme une enquête avec les bâtiments comme seuls témoins, ce livre, né de la collection de films Architectures de Richard Copans et Stan Neumann, est une plongée passionnante dans les mécaniques de la création, une invitation à se forger un regard sur l'architecture.
Text by: Richard Copans, Stan Neumann

Publisher: Editions du chene (2007)
192 pages
ISBN :9782842777050   


    2010 - World Press Photo: Contemporary Issues First Prize Singles (with "Residence")

    1991 - AFAA Grant

    1987 - "Moins Trente" National Center of the Photography Award


Architecture and Photography (Nanterre)
From 2017-04-06 to 2017-04-29

As part of the Mois de la Photo 2017, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps presents, in a collective exhibition which links architecture and photography, an extract of his series about the places of the futures train stations of Grand Paris public transport network. Result of an order following on from the one of the Datar in the 1980’s, it offers a point of view on the changing french landscape. From 2011 to 2013, Pierre-Olivier Deschamps has made 57 reports on the different urban and periurban territories which will greet those future train stations. Each place has been photographied in a strictly...

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Here & Now (Vitry sur Seine)
From 2015-06-13 to 2015-09-20

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Architectures et paysages industriels, l\'invention d\'un patrimoine (Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville)
From 2014-02-22 to 2014-06-22

Pierre-Olivier Deschamps started to photograph thirty industrial sites in 2012, his purpose was to highlight the specific atmospheres to architecture and landscape models in our past or contemporary industry. This exhibition, composed of twenty of his shots in large format, makes us discover a neglected and unknown universe. Through the photographer\'s eyes, these places mainly allocated to the production of goods, marked by the harsh working conditions, develop an unexpected aesthetic value and reveal the architectural and heritage peculiarities of industrial sites and buildings. These...

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Residency (Paris)
From 2013-05-24 to 2013-06-03

Nowadays in Paris, traces of shelters on the street for a marginalized humanity. Sometimes several hours a night or a day, sometimes weeks or whole months spent in these frail shelters.Intimate spaces separated by borders often invisible. The hot-air inlet or the niche of a wall as foundations. The imprint of the lying body. Outside and inside reversed.

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From 2013-01-08 to 2013-05-15

This exhibition presents photographs from a collection of a kind it would be impossible to put together, grouping together six remarkable buildings from the history of 20th century European architecture. Six milestones, crucial witnesses to the development of architectural thought and the century’s technical and aesthetic breakthroughs; the Casa Milà in Barcelona (Antonio Gaudí), the Bauhaus in Dessau (Walter Gropius), The Convent of La Tourette (Le Corbusier), the Maison Familiale in Nancy (Jean Prouvé), the Jewish Museum of Berlin (Daniel Libeskind), and the Phaeno in Wolfburg (Zaha...

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A drawing of shadows (Paris)
From 2011-05-06 to 2011-06-30

Presented for the first time in public in Paris, this exhibition is the result of an initiatory journey in Japan, conducted in 1991 and inspired by the reading of an essay on Japanese aesthetics - "The Praise of Shadow" by Junichiro Tanizaki - which profoundly affected the photographer. In his book, Tanizaki defends an aesthetic of the penumbra, in response to Western aesthetics where excessive light prevails. During his trip to Japan, Deschamps followed this thread and turned his gaze on a culture of imprinted details and the refinements of the art of staging beauty assume paramount...

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Résidence (Praha 1)
From 2010-09-16 to 2010-09-16

Associated with the World Press Photo, Prize of Prague awards is given every year by the mayor of Prague.\rRealised in Paris, « Résidence » shows traces of shelters on the street for a marginalized humanity. Sometimes several hours a night or a day, sometimes weeks or whole months spent in these frail shelters. Intimate spaces separated by borders often invisible. The hot-air inlet or the niche of a wall as foundations. The imprint of the lying body. Outside and inside reversed.

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L’ilôt Renault (CAEN)
From 2010-06-18 to 2010-06-27

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L'éloge de l'ombre (Caen)
From 2010-06-18 to 2010-07-17

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 Biographie de Pierre-Olivier Deschamps

Prix et bourses

1997 FIACRE Grant winner
1991 AFAA Grant winner
1991 Léonard de Vinci Grant winner
1987 “Moins Trente” Award from the National Center of Photography - France


2007 Group exhibition, 80+80 photo_graphisme, VU' Gallery and Anatome Gallery – Paris - France
2007 Architectures, CAUE Sceaux - France
2007 Architectures, VU Gallery', Paris - France
2006 Ile Seguin, Emotion Gallery, Paris - France
2006 Group exhibition, VU à Paris, MK2 movie theaters, Paris - France
2005 Museum of Modern Art of the Grand Duché du Luxembourg


Elle Déco
Figaro Magazine


2007 Architectures, Ed. Le Chêne
2006 Agence VU, Photo Poche / Actes Sud, France (collectif)
2006 VU à Paris, Panini Books, France (collectif)


Commission Européenne
Conseil Régional d’Ile de France
Musée d'Art Moderne du Grand Duché du Luxembourg
Proskaeur Rose

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   Mathilde Penchinat
    01 53 01 85 86

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