This monograph offers the narrative the journey of a quest for identity and memory carried out between 1970 and 2015. Driven by both personal and universal issues such as exile, disappearance and oblivion, Patrick Zachmann moves from one identity to another in order to connect to his own one by way of negation.
This book, which accompanies his major retrospective exhibition at the Paris Museum of Jewish Art and History, comprises a dozen of his major series, some of which have never been published before.
The photographic work of Patrick Zachmann, member of the Magnum agency, is complex and dense. Voyages de mémoire combines two major notions in the work of the photographer. On the one hand his activity as a photo reporter and on the other hand his quest for reconstituing a memory of an amnesiac family.
The first part of the book, one of the most important, centres on the question of Jewish identity. As for this identity, he will seek it, explore it, discover it, going on this in self-inspection at a gathering of survivors of the camps in Jerusalem, to a Parisian community or in different European countries, to end in his own family. This work questions the very notion of belonging, as strong as the one of Jewish culture. From his thoughts, other paths, easily followed by the photographer, will appear, such as those of exile or disappearance. In fact, he does not only focus on Judaism, but also photographs South Africa and its neo-Nazi gatherings, Rwanda and the survivors of the genocide, or even the disappearance of persons during the Chilean dictatorship.
In this body of black-and-white and color images, Zachmann points out the fragilities of our relationships with other people while revisiting his own work.