Julian Germain

Julian Germain (born 1962) is a British photographer who often combines his own images with archival images to look at the effects of change in society. He works in Britain and abroad, especially Brazil, where he gave cameras to the street children and collected their images – showing the lives of marginalised people. In For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness, which was originally shown at the Baltic gallery, accompanied by a book (Germain and Snelling, 2005), he made a series of photographs taken over 8 years of an elderly gentleman called Charles Snelling which he then published along with pages from Snelling’s own photo album. Germain says ‘He showed me that the most important things in life cost nothing at all. He was my antidote to modern living’ (Germain, 2005). The images are a straightforward story telling that combines photographs of Snelling in his house, on the beach and out walking with images of items that he owns, such as an old kettle steaming on the hob. The work acts as an ‘extended portrait’ – a story of the later part of someone’s life where the photographer has engaged over considerable time – thus giving a richer view than a flying visit could give. This is an excellent example of the additional information time spent on a project gives you, and I find it fascinating.

Germain mostly works by producing books. He says ‘A book is such an excellent way to really look at a body of work over a long period of time. Of all the visual arts the book is suited to photography. Of course, much of my work is not about the single image, my pictures work on each other, placed as they are in sequences and a book is the perfect framework for that. A photo book is a work of art in its own right…’ (Skerrett and Germain, 2010).

References:

Germain, J. (2005). Julian Germain “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness” project. [online] Juliangermain.com. Available at: http://www.juliangermain.com/projects/foreveryminute.php [Accessed 16 Oct. 2019].

Germain, J. and Snelling, C. (2005). For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness: portrait of an elderly gentleman. London: Mack.

Skerrett, P. and Germain, J. (2010). INTERVIEW: “In Conversation with Julian Germain” (2005) – AMERICAN SUBURB X. [online] Americansuburbx.com. Available at: https://americansuburbx.com/2010/09/interview-in-conversation-with-julian.html [Accessed 16 Oct. 2019].

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