Raymond Cauchetier has lived and breathed Paris during his 95 years — the photographer still lives in the same city apartment in which he was born in 1920 — and anyone with such a historical link to a place undoubtedly has some stories to tell. Of particular interest is the artist’s insight into the New Wave cinematic movement, which he gained as an on-set photographer on some of the most important films of the era; including Une Femme est Une Femme (1960) and Jules et Jim (1961). The 50th anniversary of a famous Jean-Luc Godard picture, À Bout de Souffle (Breathless), in 2010 led to a resurgence in interest in the topic, and prompted scholars to re-examine the way we view these important films.
Cauchetier’s work is now being given the credit that it deserves, and the artist has granted access to his archive for a monograph and accompanying exhibition on that period of his creative practice. Raymond Cauchetier’s New Wave at James Hyman Gallery brings to light works that languished for a long period in obscurity, and shows an artist who broke with the traditions of on-set photography by going beyond simply shooting stills during the takes. Instead, he became entwined in the filming process, documenting the actors’ off-screen interactions as keenly as the on-screen ones. The exhibition also includes examples of Cauchetier’s travel photography created on visits to Asia; he began his photographic practice as a member of the French Air Force in Indochina in his thirties. Raymond Cauchetier’s New Wave runs from 17 June to 14 August, while the book of the same name is due to be published in June by ACC Editions.