Cover of the book, Les Matons
On 19 June 1988 in a photobooth at a Barcelona railway station, artists Hélène Fabre and Christian Bonifas made a series of souvenir photos without thinking further than the pleasure of the moment.
Once home in Nîmes, having been amused by their holiday mementos, they sought out another station hall booth. So began their long infatuation with automatic photography.
After twenty-five years and more than 1500 portraits they still haunt these mini studios to capture their moods, movements and ideas.
Since 1989, under the pseudonym Les Matons they have exhibited these portraits as enlarged color photocopies.
In 2007, they published their first book, a self-titled paperback showcasing a selection of one hundred booth photographs in black & white and colour. (See cover and sample images from the book, above). With accompanying texts by Clotilde Augot, Rémy Leboissetier, Christine Rodes and Bertrand Guery and a song by Frederic Inigo, it is an ode to the Photomaton machine and the variety of creative uses to which it can be put.
Over 136 pages Hélène and Christian dress-up for, laugh, grimace, writhe and twist through fun and surprising poses that are delightfully entrancing. The artistic perspective of these two performers fills every frame.
In 2013, they released a new book, “Small Nature” which presents sixty-four new photobooth pictures. I will write more about Les Matons and show you some images from that book in a later post.
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