Swiss Photography

By Dave Crossley

Pavillon des Arts, 101 Rue Rambuteau.

Good Lord, what a spectacle this was! Hundreds of photographs, old and new, of every conceivable type, in a monster exhibition that must have touched on everything that has to do with Swiss photography.

There was a copy of the first lithograph made from a photograph m Switzerland, a photograph of the daguerreotypist Johann Baptist Isen­ring, who introduced photography to Switzerland m 1840; the cover of the catalog of the fini photo exhibition n Switzerland: and so on through the ages to Werner Bischof and Robert Frank and then to the contemporary conceptualists.
There were wonderful pictures of such subjects as a family of Russian peasant immigrants outside their cabin, just miraculous m the ability of those people at that moment to fling their spirit far into the future. There was a goofy picture made m 1890 by Johann Link, m which five crazed men and boys — all in suits - cavort m levered madness, one leaping over another s back, one tearing down the street with a mysterious board on his shoulder, another casually standing on his hands, and yet another lurching into the frame from the right bearing a stick as though it weighed 500 pounds.
The feeling of delight at this slightly askew vision carried right through to work of the present, with a large representation of the good work of lots of contemporary photographers. This was a terrific exhibition that asks for a tremen­dous amount of time. It would make a great book.