Lucien Clergue and the "Langage des sables"

4 February 2016
Langage des sables, Camargue, 1971, tirage vintage, 50 × 40 cm.
After the discussions he had with American photographers and his discovery of workshops (training courses) in the United States, and which he set up in Arles, Lucien Clergue felt the need to obtain a university qualification to validate his creative intuition. He had been obliged to work at a very young age to provide for his family and pay his mother's debts, so he had left school before he was able to obtain any diplomas. He returned to the beaches of Camargue where he made his first studies and presented a doctorate in photography entitled Langage des Sables which he defended before Roland Barthes, among others, in 1979. Based on abstract ephemeral shapes and drawings left on the sand, the structure of this exclusively graphical work impressed the academics so much that they validated the doctorate despite the absence of any theoretical text.
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