Passport presents François-Marie Banier's portraits of immigrants made on the streets of Paris-"these men with thousands of kilometers behind them," says Banier, "who appear suddenly at Place de la République, or gathered near the Gare de l'Est station, or along the Canal St. Martin, eyes on the horizon." The resulting pictures are direct, honest, and a form of embrace: "I march up to them with my camera which is like a small cannon-hardly a reassuring sight in these times of war we now have in Paris. And, as if the word had somehow got around, one by one they all enter its dark chamber as if it were a confessional where you unburden yourself of your sins, your obsessions and your despair. I open my arms to each one, press each head against my heart. Their alarm-I know how they feel." Produced at the size of a real passport and pairing Banier's photos with lyrical text fragments by Atiq Rahimi, Passport is a compassionate look at exile, "foreignness" and belonging.
About the author
François-Marie Banier was born in 1947 in Paris. A novelist and playwright, Banier has also been taking photographs of public figures and anonymous people in the street since the 1970s. In 1991 the Centre Pompidou in Paris displayed his photography for the first time; exhibitions followed in Europe, Asia and America. The Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris presented a retrospective in 2003, exhibiting Banier’s “written” and “painted” photographs for the first time. His books published by Steidl include Perdre la tête (2006), Beckett (2009), Never stop dancing (2016) and Dreamers (2019).