Man with rat - François-Marie Banier

Why not, while I’m at it, in this exhibition that I wanted so badly, because it represents all those encounters I had with strangers – not to mention me rehabilitating myself in my own eyes, my eyes which soon see nothing when drowned in the words of a novel that I’m writing they see nothing, I mean really nothing – why not offload a few secrets that would be of little interest except to get to know me a bit better – no, not the slightest interest, except for gossipmongers and they’re a dying breed these days, what with the younger generations being – yeah, funny, that – deeper, more demanding, less frivolous, less bitchy than the old crowds.

Right then, tell them what I “did” and why to make some of these photographs exist – if that’s what they do. It’s so simple but it’s capital. Okay, that’s enough! Just say it.

  1. (So, here we go, just like a recipe: boil, peel, etc. No!) One: I look. I’m always looking. But for what? I don’t really know. I look without meaning to, without knowing that I’m looking for it, for what is me, what corresponds to my dreams. A plenitude, a sense of beauty. “Beauty will save the world” he said. Beauty, but not as usually understood. The beauty of monstrousness, the beauty of crime – they also exist. This state of alert is constant.
  2. When I find it – find in myself this urge, that I must go with (obviously, it is the urge that finds me), I no longer exist. The subject, all the subject, has become me. So all these aesthetic concerns, the business of framing, of light, all this fuss about photographs, don’t exist any more. And it’s the same with all those literature lecturers and bigwig critics when I am writing.

I give myself up to my prey.

He waited a long time, this Anglo-Saxon Johnny Depp, before coming to Beaubourg. He already missed the boat of my book, my book with Denoël. One moment he was in the layout, the next he was out. Always because of the vis-à-vis that in my view wasn’t right for him. Always these problems of match-making.

Have I been clear? Let it fill you.

The day after I met that rat-bitten alcohol-lover on Rue Visconti, I came upon the animal perched up there, bang in the centre of London.

Man with rat

by François-Marie Banier


This text was written by François-Marie Banier, published by Gallimard on the occasion of the release of the exhibition catalog François-Marie Banier which took place at Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris from the 26th of March until the 15th of June 2003.


Photo: L'homme au rat, by François-Marie Banier