Valerie Jouve’s work seems to belong to the tradition of street photography, but in fact it does not. While the photographs are taken in specific locations in the city of Marseille in France, the people in them are directed by Jouve as if they were actors in a film. What results are seemingly spontaneous images made through a long and carefully arranged process.
Jouve started to make No. 19 in 1994 and then stopped because of what she felt was an inexplicable problem–in her words, the “difference between the idea of mobility expressed by the road and the static situation of the person. Each element changes the situation of the other.” She returned to the same subject again in 1996, attempting to complete the work on three different occasions before arriving at the image seen here. The same is the case with No. 20, which she worked on for two years, pointing to what she saw as the “difficulty to express a laugh with a very long pose [and the] contradiction between the natural movement of the laugh and the rigidness of photography.”