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Agence VU - Bertrand Desprez
Bertrand Desprez

French photographer born in 1963, based in Paris (France)

Graduated of the Ecole Louis Lumière (Paris), Bertrand Desprez reconciles through photography two radically opposed aspirations that inhabit him: on the one hand, a desire for freedom and unfettered solitude, on the other, the need for an anchor, a reassuring shore. The photographic work he has been developing for more than 30 years thus questions, with subtlety and elegance, the relationship between man and his environment.

After his first personal works on the jazz scene in the 80's, he acquired the recognition of the profession with his series "Pour quelques étoiles", a long term survey drawing, in black and white, a fragile and sensitive portrait of teenagers in France.

In 1998, in Japan, a shift occurred: with the discovery of a different culture, he switched to color and integrated the principle of serial declension of motifs, without giving up the documentary subtlety that characterizes his work.

Far from any cliché and attentive to a non-spectacular reality where "suddenly an ordinary object can become extraordinary and take us very far to the frontiers of the invisible", it is through the prism of the landscape and the way in which the social body inscribes itself in it by its activity, mainly sport and leisure, that Bertrand Desprez testifies without presupposition nor exoticism of our contemporary societies – weither French or foreign (Japan, Mali, Brazil, Cuba, Indonesia, etc.).

In permanent collaboration with the press, he produces numerous reports on sports in France and abroad and questions what this individual or collective, amateur or professional "physical activity" reveals of intimacy and sociality. In parallel to his personal work and editorial commissions, he also puts this double documentary and aesthetic approach at the service of companies, mainly for the realization of portraits.

Author of four monographs, Bertrand Desprez is the winner of the CCF Foundation Prize for Photography (1997) and the Kodak Critics' Prize (1999). Regularly published and exhibited, his photographs have been included in the collections of the CCF Foundation for Photography, the Fonds National d'Art Contemporain and the HSBC Collection, among others.

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The mud fighters of Mumbai (2017)

Kutshi is the name given to the traditional Indian wrestling, nowadays going in Pakistan and in Dubai. The photographer Bertrand Desprez went at the heart of the most ancient Akhara of Bombay dated of 1930 in order to meet the players of a threatened sport. Despite the religious aspect, the practice of kutshi implies a peculiar way of life. The wrestlers have, among other things, to respect the Samkya rule. This rule forbids having intercourse, alcohol consumption and Tabaco consumption and obliged the wrestlers to a lacto ovo vegetarian diet. The very strict aspect of this rule is one of the reasons why kutshi has a declining practice. Indeed, this type of alimentation has a cost...

Paris Opera Ballet School (2011)

Paris Opera young ballet-dancers (called « petits rats ») are not running in the corridors of the Palais Garnier anymore; the school, which will be 300 years old in 2013, is now situated in an exceptional place in Nanterre since 1987. During their entire schooling, the pupils of the various levels are put in the best possible conditions to perpetuate the art of French-style dance. School canteen, compulsory classes on general subjects parallel to their artistic training and a boarding school system enable the young dancers to reach the level of excellence required from them to integrate, one day, the Paris National Opera Ballet. Directed by Elisabeth Platel, a world-renowned and...

Homanimus (2004)

These amazing shots by Bertrand Desprez raise questions about the relationships between man and animals, when the latter becomes a source of projection and reflection. On the one hand there is a chatterbox with an inexhaustible penchant for the imaginary world and on the other an enigmatic silent type deciphering the language of the dolphins and raving about the singing of the whales. Right from childhood, cuddly toys and then pets help to build up the individual’s identity, from the inanimate object right through to human beings, before becoming companions in our games or simple dumb confidants. Upon reaching adulthood, man uses a colourful vocabulary which refers back to the animal world...

Farmers, father and son, France

The work on the land is a restrictive job. Farmers use this soil as a real production tool. But they also have duties towards it: they need to take care of it, to perpetuate it, to pass on it. From father to son, farm is a legacy that Bertrand Desprez tries to catch in the act.


Brazil, through the colours that it gives, is a real source of inspiration for photographers. But how can we avoid commonplaces in a country paced by samba and people’s smiles? Maybe when you really try to meet those people...we can see here a demonstration of the Brazilian daily life.


Cuba, Havana and its streets: the whole island lives to the beat of dance. Rumba, Flamenco, Salsa, Paso-doble, and even classical dance are taught from the best institutions to the poorest dancing schools. It’s in this joyful mix, which makes forget for a while the misery of Cuba, that Bertrand Desprez drives us. The young dancers he follows have the Latin blood, they bubble, but they have also the essential harshness and the control of their bodies essential to be on top. In Havana, dance is broadcasted on TV: as the soccer in Brazil, and the Super Bowl in United States. A way to raise this popular art to the fine arts rank, and to give again hope to people.


Most important Archipelago state and fourth more populated state in the world, the Republic of Indonesia is at the crossroads of cultures. Between historical link with Hinduism, and actual influences of Islam, the country is really various religiously, and ethnically.


Storytellers, dancers, musicians...Mali abounds in artists. But their activity is not really look too good. But Bertrand Desprez values this atmosphere, and tries to communicate it to us. With photography that just records light, he plays with colours, enhances them with choices of light, and highlights all that he sees.

The four seasons in Japan

Bertrand Desprez likes Japan, its culture, and its literature. This photographic series was created during his trips on the Asian island. Reading’s reminiscence, each picture is like a haïku.

Gap, the four seasons, France

Series of photographs by Bertrand Desprez, taken during his artistic residence in Gap in 2006 Bertrand Desprez has discovered and photographed this wild region over the 4 seasons. His steps have taken him through mysterious forests, fields of fresh cut hay, snowy mountains, and near cold lakes. His harvest of images is abundant and full of surprises.

The blue sheet

Instant tatami on the park lawns in spring, summer umbrella for cereals seeking for cool temperature, autumn screen, cozy winter coat for bare trees ... Nailed, roped up, pegged, floating or sticked everywhere in the city as much as in the countryside, a beautiful blue enamel landscape of the Japanese archipelago. The Japanese call it Ao Ba, « the blue sheet ». A nice name for a simple sheet, a square of plastic manufactured in series with a modest but very useful function to protect and isolate surfaces and objects in a country where typhoons and earthquakes are as frequent as hailstorm. To detect the subtle Japanese expression of soul through life of a plastic tarpaulin, perhaps it was an...


En plein dans la nuit

Une série de photographies de Bertrand Desprez a été confiée à Hélène Gaudy. Chacun ignorait l’identité de l’autre. De ces images dont elle ne savait rien, Hélène Gaudy s’est inspirée pour écrire le texte.

Présentation de l'éditeur :
Mais d’où vient cette violence, Julien ?, l’interroge la psychologue scolaire. C’est parti à cause d’un livre lu à haute voix en classe La légende de saint Julien L’Hospitalier de Flaubert. Des railleries de Rhoda, alors il s’est battu comme un chien. Puis il a quitté en douce le collège, par le trou dans le grillage derrière les sapinettes. C’est là qu’il a trouvé le flingue. Deux jours avant, un gars est entré au collège, il a menacé un prof dans sa classe avec le flingue, puis il est parti sans tirer. Pierre, le flingue, il va l’apporter à Chen, son ancien ami, celui qu’il n’a pas défendu lorsqu’il était attaqué par Rhoda. Ensemble ils vont trouver quoi en faire de ce flingue : tuer le big boss, l’ennemi intime, parce que tout le monde a un big boss… Ce court roman d’une densité assez incroyable nous mène comme en apnée dans la tête d’un adolescent un peu perdu. L’univers cruel de l’adolescence est évoqué sans effets, sans apitoiement, frontalement, et nous laisse sans voix.
Text by: Hélène Gaudy

Publisher: Thierry Magnier Editions (collection Photo roman) (2011)
107 pages
ISBN :2364740258   

Ao Ba - La feuille Bleue

Éphémère tatami sur les pelouses des parcs au printemps, ombrelle estivale pour céréales en quête de fraîcheur, paravent d'automne, douillet manteau d'hiver pour arbres dénudés…Clouée, encordée, arrimée, flottante ou encollée, partout, à la ville comme à la campagne, sa belle couleur azur émaille le paysage de l'archipel nippon. Les Japonais l'appellent Ao Ba, " la feuille bleue ".

Publisher: Filigranes/Baudoin Lebon (2004)
80 pages
Size: 15x24 cm
ISBN :2914381875   

Pour quelques étoiles

Le principe de ce prix est original. En aidant un jeune photographe à publier un livre, la Fondation CCF aide certainement plus sa carrière qu'en lui donnant une somme d'argent. Cette dernière va généralement à une production dont le résultat n'est pas toujours visible. Le livre est une caution et une garantie de pérennité.Le fait d'être seul rapporteur à assumer cette présélection est aussi une difficulté intéressante. Ce processus élimine les joutes verbales sans fin qui prennent parfois le pas sur l'enjeu réel du prix.

Publisher: Actes Sud (1999)
112 pages
Size: 22x28 cm
ISBN :2742714197   


    1999 - Kodak of critical Award

    1997 - Foundation CCF Laureate for the photography


Mr. B\'s workshop (Toulouse)
From 2018-05-04 to 2018-05-20

\"Mysteries In my cosmogony, a certain number of planets are important, the planet dance or the planet jazz, cradles of improvisations and aerial movements. In the heart of my galaxy many stars illuminate my paths, childhood and adolescence as the cradle of the game of possibilities. Milky ways, my journeys are more or less distant, from my Breton valley in Japan, from the alpine paths in Brazil, from Parisian dreams to the Niger river. Literature often takes me away, bridge words, universal poetry, the art of describing the world and its mysteries. For almost thirty years, I have been...

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Homanimus (Clermont-Ferrant)
From 2016-10-08 to 2016-10-30

The human being can not live without the animal. From representations to commemorations... Designed, sculpted in the ice or in the marble ... These animals haunt unlikely places. A lion abandoned in Denver, a lonely bear head in Yogyakarta, a deer defying a stormy sky in Anet, a Dalmatian accompanied by a headless man. And this whale showing its tail in Lisbon ... Endless inventory of a zoo ... Which is terribly human. Through his series \"Homanimus\", Bertrand Desprez explores the animality, or more specificaly the ethnocentric vision that we have, reflected by our contemporary urban...

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Voyage Fantastique (Issoire)
From 2011-12-09 to 2012-01-22

The « Voyage fantastique » exhibition groups together five works of Bertrand Desprez: Aoba, the blue sheet in Japan, OVNI (organic vision of an imaginary nature), Homanimus (Fantastic Zoology), Along the way (during an artist residence in Gap) and Immovable Trip.

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Regard sur la facture instrumentale en Yvelines (Montfort l’Amaury)
From 2010-04-01 to 2010-04-18

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(La Rochelle)
From 2010-01-14 to 2010-02-24

A Tatami ephemera on park lawns in springtime, a parasol for cereals trying to keep cool, a screen in autumn, a cosy winter coat for bare trees. Nailed down, roped up, moored, floating or stuck down, wherever you go, both in the city and in the countryside, its lovely azure colour is dotted all over the landscape of the Japanese archipelago. The Japanese call it Ao Ba, “the blue sheet“. This is a very pretty name for a simple tarpaulin, a mass-produced square piece of plastic whose modest but nevertheless very useful job is to protect and insulate surfaces and objects in a country where...

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O Japao (The four seasons in Japan) (Sao Paulo)
From 2008-04-19 to 2008-05-25

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 Biographie de Bertrand Desprez

Prix et bourses

2000 Award from the town of Biarritz for the work : Aoba, the blue sheet
1999 Kodak's critics award for the work : The Four seasons
1998 Villa Medicis for a project in Japan
1997 Award of the CCF Foundation for Photography for : For a few stars


2008 The Four Seasons, Paris Photo – Baudoin Lebon Gallery
2008 The Four Seasons, La Caixa, Sao Paolo, Brazil
2008 Don de Vie – Chapelle de la Salpétrière - Paris
2007 Chemin Faisant, Gallery Chambre Claire – Annecy – France
2006 VU 20 ans – VU Gallery
2006 VU à Paris – Chapelle de la Salpétrière - Paris
2005 Incredible Journeys, Issy-les-Moulineaux library - France


Experts, Sunday Times Magazine
Portait JMG le Clézio, Le Monde + Lire
Portait Rona Chasserio, Panorama
Centre Adebie, La Santé de l’Homme
Portait Jean Vanier, Panorama
Portait Jean-Pierre Silva, Gourmet
L’Aventure Intérieure, Panorama


2006 Agence VU’ Galerie, Photopoche, Actes Sud
2005 Les quatre saisons, monographie, Actes Sud
2004 AOBA, La feuille bleue, Filigranes


Bayard Presse
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie de Paris La Vilette
Conseil Régional d’Île de France
Lafayette Gourmet
Max Havelaar
Pages Jaunes
Société Générale

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   Mathilde Penchinat
    01 53 01 85 86

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