Introduction by Mireille Calle-Gruber.
'I first began to take photos in 1951, when I came back from my first stay in Egypt, my first long stay in foreign country. I had been so taken by the manners, the landscapes, the monuments, the people…'
From 1950 to 1960 Michel Butor, the author of a considerable body of literary work, became intensely active as a photographer. That part of his work remains little known because it has hardly ever been published. So this book fills in a gap by offering his images, which softened and exalted both matter and light in the era of black and white.
Taken in France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain and the United States, these photographs are as likely to linger over monuments as over details of every-day life, capturing the ephemeral, portraying landscapes, taking their time with place’s intimate secrets. Butor calls the poetic spell that inspired him to invent images as though he were arranging words on a page the 'Genie of the Space.'
Introduced by Mireille Calle-Gruber – writer, professor at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle and friend of Michel Butor, whose Complete Works she edited – In the Era of Black and White juxtaposes photographs and texts, inviting us to stroll once again through the Butor-Eye’s protean body of work, including, at the end, notes and musings about photography by a writer who, throughout his life, always wrote with 'a lens in his mind’s eye.'