audrey bardou – brigitte et bernard

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Audrey Bardou

Brigitte et Bernard

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I’d like to introduce you to my parents Brigitte and Bernard; exceptional, yet anonymous

They aren’t exceptional in the sense that we hear about them in our society, but in the the values that they have infused in me: humanism, integrity, generosity, and courtesy.

On advice of Magnum Photos photographer David Alan Harvey, I started to photograph them: “I am thinking your parents to be perhaps the best of your two choices (other choice teenage friend)…first of all, photographing your parents cannot wait til later……you cannot take your parents for granted… should photograph them now…now is all we have… you can find another teenager, but you cannot find other parents…if your parents will let you really dig in and work, then i would say go with them for your essay….you have nothing to lose by trying….and the worst you will have is a nice family document…the best you can have will be a beautiful personal essay.”

My mother and my father don’t understand my interest in photographing them eating, sleeping or simply setting the table. Recently my Father fell ill, old age catching up with him. I love my parents. I love photographing them. My photographs aren’t about social issues. They are a work of love. But isn’t the act of love an underground fight for change?

translation : Erica McDonald


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87 Responses to “audrey bardou – brigitte et bernard”

  • AUDREY – you know how much i love this essay. i first saw it in perpignan – and was just as moved as i was seeing it again. nice new images and tight edit. there are too many that i love to single out – just a wonderful, moving, personal essay. you should be proud!!

  • Audrey,

    I love this. I felt (and feel!) such a connection with your family, a lump formed in my throat on seeing the gravestone reflection.



  • Audrey,

    Un grand merci pour le partage de ces instants tellement intimes, forts, perturbants car ils nous ramènent à notre propre vie, notre propre relation à nos parents.
    La distance géographique qui existe aujourd’hui avec mes propres parents et moi même rend votre essai certainement encore plus émouvant, touchant me faisant une nouvelle fois tourner mes pensées vers ma propre famille.
    C’est pour moi bien là la force de La photographie, tellement intime pour vous mais finalement tellement proche de nous, de ceux qui regardent vos images.

    J’aime à imaginer ce chat (évoquer par Bob et Katharina) comme un témoin discret mais bien présent comme en témoigne certaines photographie de la vie de vos parents.

    Très bonne continuation.

  • Audrey, I add my compliments in equal strength to those above. Additional accolades should go as well to your family, who display a naturalness and an elegance that is every bit your equal partner in this essay.
    I question though, how much the foreignness of this essay impacts my North-American sensibilities. If this were an American family, would I be as drawn in as I am here? I see a Ricard water pitcher, and I want to have breakfast with your family; I see Manet’s cat several times, and I desire to fly over to pet it. Would I feel as strongly if this were a family here in Anytown, North America?
    Would I feel the same way if Hassoun’s Israeli reservists were instead ordinary Americans temporarily drafted to fight a forest fire? Probably not – the foreign context is an additive quality which shouldn’t interfere with our notions of a work, but it does anyway. Your country honours Jerry Lewis…
    I am utterly enchanted with the timelessness of this essay, and would appreciate it if it were photographed here – just less so. But I do think those of us that are not of your culture are also drawn in, in part, by the nature of your wonderful cultural capture as well.

  • Audrey,

    This is an unbelievably beautiful work. Touching, personal and I think universal. Through your photographs, I can feel my parents too.

  • **
    I’m late to the party…
    what can I say that hasn’t been said?
    I like Jeff H’s comment;
    thought provoking…
    What I especially liked was~
    through your imagery I got a sense of
    what you DIDN’T photograph,
    and that is quite a challenge…
    beautiful work,
    beautiful spirit
    in all your

  • Thank you Gina, Laura, Christina, Wendy, Katharina, Sophia, Cathy, Kathleen, Jeff, Subhrajit, Vincent, Eric, Andrew, Abele, A Photojournalist Who Blogs, Jared, Yury, Srinivas, Ben, Velibor…

    I didn’t think that my parents would please so much… Jeff, yes, I asked myself the same question, maybe it is the ” French touch ” whose speaks Raymond Depardon…

    Jared, my first work was my grandfather at the end of life… it was very difficult, I was angry, powerless… today, I’ll photograph differently….

    Gina, the beautiful edit is David, not me, I do not arrive it, it is really difficult for me

    Thanks Anonyme Photojournalist, I like to discover new works… I bought “The Fat Baby” by Eugene Richards, there is a story moving of his parents…

    Amicalement, audrey

  • Audrey, These are really wonderful. I think the moments are wonderful and the compositions really compliment the images by adding a soft grace. Nice work.


  • Audrey,

    You give an older child’s view of one’s parents. Not to say that you are a child, (yet in the eyes of our parents we always are :) ), but it is to say that this view comes with maturity… the view that we are a product of our parents, and there are traits of them that we very much see in ourselves. For this, we curse them and love them. Who would we be if not for them? And I know this is very dependent upon one’s individual circumstances, but for those of us who grew up with two parents, or single parents, whether biological or otherwise, this is a story with which we can assimilate. We are them, and we love them with every thread of our being.

    It is an occurance that creeps up on you, like a yellow light screeching to red in our adolescence…there are always these lessons to be learned, friends from which to withdraw, friends to encircle ever closer, and practices that will ever echo the characteristics of our parents. These are the lessons of life, and the reactions to which are based upon our parents. They are forever enticing, loving, intriguing, and infuriating…and we are those reflections and love. Thank you for this journey into my feelings of my own family…fantastic use of depth of field, btw. I love this. How should I say? Magnifique.

  • Audrey, congratulations from me too.

    I must say some images touch me less than others, I sometimes sense too much of the photographer and less of the daughter, and that is probably why it is so difficult to bring one’s family as a photographic essay. A terribly difficult balancing act, between the eye and the heart, between knowledge and intuition.

  • thank you again…

    Hervé, it is very difficult to judge my own photographs, there is too much feeling, you are right, je regrette de ne pas vous avoir rencontré à Paris en juin dernier.

  • Audrey,

    Very lovery and touching story.:)))
    I love your works very much.

    Many families In Korea, was very big… mom, dad, grandma, grandfa, and children lived together.
    But nowadays it is changing…. They live very near as a neighborhood and helps each other… Because of working mom.

    Your woprks make me reminding very valued family and love.
    Thank you very much.

  • Audrey,

    Quelle bonne surprise de découvrir (ou de redécouvrir) cet essai sur tes parents… Je trouve qu’il a pris une forme très émouvante depuis les premières sélections que j’avais vues à Perpignan. Il me semble que les photos prises au cimetière donnent de la profondeur aux autres.

    J’imagine, et j’espère, que tu continues à photographier tes parents.

    A bientôt.

  • Salut Audrey, eh oui David avait raison (David was right…). Excelent et profond travail sur des gens proches, je crois que on peut faire des pures photos avec des gens que on connait tres bien et on a confiance.
    J’aime aussi “15mn”, que j’ai vu publie sur Reponses Photo et que je viens de le revoir.

    Keep going, peut etre on se verra a Perpignan en Septembre,
    A+ Patricio

  • I feel as if I was this children. I was partially raised by my grandfather and grandmother and I can see my childhood with them in so many of these pictures. Every morning when he opens the door….. that has always been a ritual…this essay inspire me in many ways.

  • A wonderful beautiful and in the end moving essay. I esp like the picture of your mother cleaning the shower (how she must hate that photo!).

    The only picture that doesn’t work for me is the girl on the bed with dolls (and maybe the girl on the slide) in that I don’t see your parents in the photograph and I don’t want to lose focus on them.

    All the best,


  • Kyunghee Lee, thank you very much, I hope one day to have a book so beautiful as your…

    Pierre-Yves, merci bq, j’espère qu’on se verra très bientôt

    Patricio, je serai ravie de vous rencontrer à Perpignan, j’ai justement travaillé aujourd’hui sur mon exposition à venir de 15 mn au fepn 2009

    Thank you Antonia, Charles… Yes, I hesitated with this image during my selection, because there are not my parents, but my parents live only for their children, their grandchildren and their cats! I find myself in it playing with dolls in my room… it is necessary to make choices and I did that…

  • audrey–

    i adore this essay. it’s my favorite kind- the kind that makes me feeeel. lots.
    tres bien! encore! keep going, sister. xo

  • Very nice, Audrey! My mum would kill me if I did the same ;-)

  • Thanks a lot katia and Joni, I also hope to see your works very soon!!

  • Audrey… This is a great essay. It is like a melody and it spreads sweetness. You should be proud and your parents too, as there is so much love in it.

    Congratulations and love,


  • Congratulations on a wonderful piece. For me, a very impressive display of photographic talent that managed to touch.

  • Tres, tres bien. Just lovely.

    Thank you Audrey!


    YES!!!! You did it. This is the most powerful edit of what to me is a touchingly intimate view of a marriage. There are some new images–love the frying pan!–but even the ones I’ve seen before take on nw meaning in this new sequence. Congratulations, my dear friend. I know you’ve put your heart and soul into this project and it shows. Now I look forward to the book…


  • Hi Audrey! Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment on your essay. I watched it a couple of days ago and was so touched. It really is a very intimate and sensitive piece. You have such a gentle style about your work, which I really love. Well done this is a really wonderful piece!

  • Have to disagree with Charles re. girl on bed…

    Although I understand you point Charles about moving away from the parents with that shot, it is such a beautiful image. It would be a real shame to lose it. Its one of the frames that I remember most.

  • Merci beaucoup, Ana, Gustav, Michael, James

    James, I apologize for not having recognized you in Perpignan last year, I hope that you will come this year and that we will meet us..

    Dear Partricia, thanks a lot for your help, your encouragements, I doubt a lot as you know, and you make me to ask me the good questions, I always feel you at my side when I work… merci à vous

    your friend, audrey

  • Pas de problème mon ami! J’espère que je peux visite Perpignan cette année! ($$$!!??)

  • I’ve seen this essay on your website before and fall in love with it from the first glance. It’s very beautiful: the intimacy, the playfulness, the sadness and humour of being alive. I like the subtle interplay of your characters in the story like ,for example, i believe, in the 12 image? -black cat, little girl and you dad – a love triangle, all independent yet connected. All seem at ease with you photographing them. what a great story, Audrey !

  • je crois que on peut faire des pures photos avec des gens que on connait tres bien et on a confiance.

    Pas vrai du tout. Qu’ est ce que c’ est, pure photo?

  • Thanks Marina, it is an image which I like very much, I like this movement in the image…

    Have to go her English lesson!

  • Pinoy Photographer

    OMG! It’s one of the top 3 best essays so far in Burn!! Absolutely truthful, heartfelt, genuine essay. That’s because you know the subjects so well….

  • Eduardo Sepulveda


    Choisir l’acte d’amour comme le ‘underground’ de l’essai, toucher comme ça a chacun qui l’a vu …

    Après de le revisiter quelques fois, de rester en silence, de lire encore une fois les mots de présentation, ce ‘fight for change’ caché, ou les mots de David ‘you have nothing to lose by trying’…

    …rappeler à ma propre grand-mère se plaindre chaque fois qu’elle voit apparaître un appareil photographique ou pis encore, chaque fois qu’il voit ses photos, avec la déception -peut-être- de ne pas trouver une image plus ‘fantastique’ d’elle…

    Lire les commentaires et voir la réception… c’est d’assister à un changement du lieu dans lequel se trouve le courage, l’exceptionnel ou la beauté, tout à fait.

  • Très beau travail, touchant.

    Bonne continuation.


  • a very warm-hearted nod and applause to you Audrey for this essay. i would love this little book on my table. bravo! bravo!

    – lance

  • Thanks so much… it means a lot for me…

  • jenny lynn walker

    thank you so much audrey,

    your essay has me close to tears. the love and honesty of it, and each and every photograph. and reminds me, in an almost painful way because of the magnitude of it, how much i love and miss my own parents

    i was SO happy to see you the bathroom mirror!… you are inextricably connected to the subjects and to the whole spirit of the piece… love it!

    jenny : )

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