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Philippe Chancel

The Jokers Publishing

Publication date : 2022/12/01
Weight 1200 g / Dimensions 24 x 34 cm / 136 pages

In the early 1980s, France was going through a turbulent period, with the downward spiral of unemployment, the rise of the National Front and the intensification of violence against immigrants. It is in this context that Philippe Chancel paints the portrait of a mixed, dynamic and daring youth of France. These are powerful shots that illustrate the dream of another France in the 1980s, as opposed to the pitiful spectacle of the beginnings of an odious election campaign.

In Paris, “the quadrilateral Nation, République, Grands boulevards, Gare de l’Est, marks their territory. Like them, I am just 20 years old. Blacks, Whites, Beurs, pretty faces and broken faces face each other. The story is one of trouble, with a background of sex, drugs, rockab’ and glamour; where we meet the Stray Cats until late at Albert’s “Grand Boulevards” parties (…) It is this raw energy that I tried to capture with my camera, charged with a Kodak Tri-X boosted by my flash. Even if sometimes I acted with cunning and surprise, I always expressed truth and sincerity through my pictures… ”
Philippe Chancel

The France of the 80s is also and above all the France of this book. The famous little History of France, the one that was little or not mentioned in the newspapers. The National Front was starting its rise to 42% in the presidential elections this year, police violence was at least as prevalent as in 2022, but at that time people liked to have style and to assume it. It is this France that is expressed through the photographs of Philippe Chancel. At night, not all the cats were grey, they were black, white, beur and proud of it.

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