By combining François Kollar’s documentary work and historical context, the curators allow us to discover a photographer “who always worked in the service of…,” explains Pia Viewing. He fulfilled his advertising, industrial, and fashion commissions with precision, excellence, and beauty. A photographer who mingled with the high and the low of the French society, he was a chameleon who adapted to the environment, except during the Second World War when he retreated with his wife and children to the Poitou region.
The three major sections of the exhibition offer a chronological portrait of a photographer who experimented, used photomontage, solarization, and lighting effects. He was a perfectionist when it came to printing his images. Note how he nuances grey and deep black to dramatize the cloudy skies.
The whole produces a dual sensation of power and tenderness. A similar effect is also generated by the relationship between the body and the machine, something the photographer was very familiar with, and which he implicitly portrayed in neatly composed images (including those cropped in the lab).
Between 1931 and 1934, he fulfilled the largest photographic commission to date, reporting on the working conditions in France. It was thanks to this commissioned work that he became known as “ the Kollar of industry.”