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Kate Barry, “My Own Space”: Exhibition at Quai de la Photo

Spéos has been involved in Quai de la Photo, a new floating art center on the Seine, which is dedicated to contemporary photography. It opened to the public in July 2023.

From December 15, 2023, to March 20, 2024, Quai de la Photo will host the exhibition “My Own Space” by Kate Barry, curated by Sylvain Besson.

Self-portrait for ELLE magazine – 2001 © Kate Barry

About the exhibition

Quai de la Photo is paying tribute to Kate Barry with a retrospective on the 10th anniversary of her passing in 2013, at the age of 46. This retrospective aims “to show the diversity of her work,” explains curator Sylvain Besson, whose book My Own Space (Éditions de La Martinière, 2023) gave the exhibition its name.

In contrast to the glitz of magazines, the imperatives of commissions, and the overexposure of her family as the daughter of John Barry and Jane Birkin, Kate Barry offered stripped-down atmospheres, full of poetry and subtlety, at once melancholic and oppressive.

The exhibition was first presented in Chalon-sur-Saône at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce, to which Kate Barry’s family entrusted all her negatives, contact sheets, digital archives, and a large selection of prints (with additional material from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France).

Nearly 80 photos will be displayed on the two floors of Quai de la Photo for more than 3 months.
The exhibition is divided in two parts:

  • A first selection of works from December 15, 2023, to February 5, 2024,
  • Followed by a second selection from February 7 to March 20, 2024.

This is an opportunity to showcase the breadth of Kate Barry’s fragile and poetic work through her iconic projects and favorite subjects: melancholic landscapes, fashion, portraits, and especially her perspective on her family.

Jane Birkin by Kate Barry (Cosmopolitan – 2000) © Kate Barry

About the Photographer – Kate Barry

Kate Barry began her photography career in 1996. Commissions for fashion and magazines brought her fame, and her work helped shape the image of an era (mother-daughter campaign for the brand Comptoir des Cotonniers from 2003 to 2006, portraits of actresses for the release of François Ozon’s film “8 Women” in 2002).

Surrounded by photographs and image producers, and as a model for her own fashion creations, Kate Barry quickly established herself as a major photographer from 1996. Her privileged access to certain personalities and the unique visual universe she created convinced many clients and models to seek her services.

Despite the constraints of commissions, the photographer asserted her point of view, allowing her to develop more personal projects. Kate Barry has built a delicate, fragile body of work that evokes introspection. Those close to her describe her landscapes as her “true” photographic work, the closest to her personality, where her concerns and silences are most authentically expressed.

> Read the interview with Kate Barry’s son, Roman de Kermadec, in Paris Match – October 2023 (PDF in French)

“Photography was not an obvious choice. Far from it. […] It was a pleasure that I did not see. I took pleasure in it later, when it became more important, when it was necessary to build again. I was able to create my space, a space of my own.”
– Kate Barry, interview with Léo Scheer (2005)

Practical Information

  • Venue: Quai de la Photo, 9 port de la Gare, 75013 Paris.
  • Dates: December 15, 2023, to March 20, 2024.
  • More information

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