In 1977, in the newspaper Le Monde, Hervé Guibert writes: “Family photos, group portraits, photos of children: these faces tell so many stories. Resignation, longing, submission, fear of a high quality life, but also the pleasure of posing for the camera, social evasion achieved through this type of masquerade. (…) None of these photos, although very beautiful, provoke any laughter. Some give the feeling of underlying drama. For once, the photographer has not asked for a smile. Behind the tiling on the façade of his shop, big chimney-stacks were burning.”
In 1991, in Le Soir, Danièle Gillemon writes: “With the naivety and strict and formal attitudes that were prevalent at that time, to have one’s photograph

taken was a lifetime event, and some of these human beings who are pictured among their surprising accoutrements, betray the loneliness, the vulnerability, the weight of education and of the environment, which are all sociological themes that will later become the topics covered by the great modern photographers.”
In Libération, Brigitte Ollier writes: “Snippets of lives that we are discovering on paper today, like a procession of faces united in an ephemeral gravity, between a fancy dress ball and a wedding procession. Here we see the children of Dickens and of the Countess of Ségur, rascals and sportspeople, accordion players and seamstresses, in this incredible way which they have of taking each other by the hand, performing the contours of a dance step, or miming a boxing fight… Ghisoland belongs at the top.”
In 2002, in the magazine Vu d’Ici, Alain D’Hooghe writes: “The oeuvre of Norbert Ghisoland, considered as a whole, and with its riches of multiple components, presents a group of human beings in all its joys and sorrows, in all its height and failings. That which is not visible to the eye, we can imagine it from our own mixed bag of experiences, from our own memories.”
In 2003, In Libération, Gilles Renault writes: “There are only a few kilometres that separate the place where Ghisoland was first born and the one where he breathed his last breath, 61 years of a eulogy to sedentarism limited to a house that acted not only as a home office, but also as a shop, dark room and studio. (…) A constancy that makes sense, when one sees the ethnographic sum total that makes up this collection.”
In 2011, in the magazine Internazionale, Christian Caujolle writes: “When we look at the images that have survived, we cannot fail to be moved by the thought that the whole lot could have disappeared, as was the case in so many other photographic studios, which, even though their images were far from the exceptional quality of Ghisoland’s, often ended up at the dump. Ghisoland’s portraits have this unique quality: they are examples of the work of a commercial, professional artisan, without artistic pretensions, and yet, despite everything, they move us deeply, much more than we would have expected, given their familiar conventional poses, lighting and layout. Here, what strikes us most are the individuals, people we don’t usually associate with these surroundings because they belong to the working class and they pose clumsily, feel embarrassed and either don’t smile at all or only with difficulty. The hard life of the outside world has seeped into the studio. This effect of internalised pain mixed with dignity is most noticeable in the identity-card photos. There are certainly some strong faces, but there is also, in the eyes and the slightly tensed faces, a sense of helplessness. And it is that which touches us so deeply. ”

2011 sur Arte

2012 Strasbourg