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René de CarufelIn 1974, René de Carufel dropped out of med-school. A chance encounter with an American studying photography at a school in Maryland would precipitate an abrupt re-orientation toward an interest that was to become a lifelong pursuit and passion for this Montreal photographer. He cut loose and left for Maryland with little money and just a few words of English. Two years later he would return to Montreal and slowly build up a successful career that has now spanned almost 3 decades. After a few lean years, work started coming in from larger agencies and magazines, work that would take him to France, Africa, and Eastern Europe - before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Travel and interest in other cultures would become his second passion. Apart from commercial contracts, he has always felt driven to pursue his personal work whether during his travels or in the studio creating artistic nudes. The unifying factor of his creative work is the mastery of light, a technical wizardry that serves to carry the emotional content and subtle mystery of his best pictures home to the viewer.
The Photographer’s Eye
The following images of this virtual exhibition as well as the up-coming book are the offspring of a need for a more ambitious personal project, a challenge that would stimulate and inspire as well as fullfill a dream. He had never met most of the photographers who inspired him as he was defining his own personal vision along the way. ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ would initiate the opportunity to meet them at their homes and studios, in their intimate environment- a contact forged through the shared passion for the art of photography. In New York, long admired names like Pete Turner, Arnold Newman, Mary Ellen Mark, and Gordon Parks (who sadly passed away recently) agreed to participate; in California he met William Claxton, Douglas Kirkland, and Ruth Bernard (who is in her 100th year); in Paris there was Yann Arthus Bertrand, Marc Riboud, Willy Ronis; in Arles, France, he had the good fortune to meet Eiko Hosoe on visit from Japan; and many others. The project began close to home with the participation of some exceptional photographers from Montreal, then continued to expand outward for a period 2 years, forming the group of 100 remarkable photographers chosen for their quality of vision as well as talent.
In what has become a path of discovery, this dream project can have no definitive conclusion. There are just so many talents out there. One well known name would lead to new names, and each region would disclose a new group of great artists. It is fascinating to learn the trajectory of each individual career path, to hear the story behind the work firsthand. What joins all the participants together is a passionate belief in the importance of photography as an art form. The writings and insights about the creative process resonates on a universal level, and is an invaluable source of inspiration and guidance for anyone involved in photography or the arts in general.