"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."
Oscar Wilde Talks
Christian Courrèges does not believe in the truth of a portrait. The romantic vision that a painter or a photographer can capture the reflections of the soul goes against his beliefs. So to stop the lie, he photographed the uniforms worn by men.
In 2004, he captures images of French and British judges.
In 2006, he created a series on the prelates, priests of the Roman church.
What can we see? Much red, some ermine, sometimes wigs but certainly a vision of power. Some wear the garb of the king during the coronation, the others the blood of their savior. Individuality disappears under the cloak of office. It is the first role of the uniform. The photographer, through this series, establishes a general portrait of the French judge, the English judge and the prelate of the Roman church. He permits us to see, that which we are not usually entitled to see. He makes accessible the inaccessible. At least that is what he wants us to believe.
How does one not go beyond the vast distance that the clothes and closed faces would create between the viewer and the model? These characters are facing us. They watch us. The temptation to seek what one wants to hide is huge for us. Who is this man? Who is this woman? How do they exercise their function? What are they thinking when they look into the lens of the photographer? From appearances, Christian Courrèges leads us to being.
And yet a doubt remains. Prior to becoming a photographer, Christian Courrèges studied sociology. Now, after thirty years of practicing photography, he makes only portaits. But then why go to photograph the eyes of Haitians? Would it be enough to define a group evolving within a country in distress?
The series is the basis of work of Christian Courrèges. He sums up his career in eight words: prelates, magistrates, builders, Haiti, musicians, prison, bullfighting, polaroid. That appears all too simple.