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Matinee: 'Cave Photography' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

13 May 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 187th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Cave Photography with Philippe Crochet & Annie Guiraud.

As this week tweets from infantile duplicity to obstruction of justice, all we can think to say (besides Zut! Allors...) is Vive la France. Civilization itself seems, now and then, to rush off to France to recuperate from the trials it suffers in the rest of the world. And since it did so last Sunday, we thought we'd extend the celebration today.

Philippe Crochet and Annie Guiraud are photographers, not politicians. And what they photograph, oddly enough, is caves, which may seem peculiarly appropriate give the news of the week. We may all prefer to live in caves soon. With no Internet reception.

The thing about caves is that there's no natural light. It's a BYOL party. Strobes, it seems, are their tool of choice although the helmet lamps are important too.

The thing about caves is that there's no natural light.

But the other thing about caves is how other worldly they are. No small comfort when you're itching to get off the planet.

This video by Peter Gedei follows the couple as they explore Cave Dimnice in Slovenia. We see them descend from the light of day into the darkness of the entrance.

There is a good deal of French spoken in this video but the interview is conducted in English. We merely enjoyed the French as a musical interlude. D'accord, you might agree.

Philippe explains that he was a caver before he was a photographer. But these days he never goes into a cave without his camera. And Annie adds that she hated caves but bit by bit (with the right equipment) learned to love them for their beauty.

Well, opposites attract. And they make quite a team, as Philippe says.

We see Philippe set up for a shot, pulling out the tripod. And in darkness broken only by their helmet lamps they set up their strobes.

Their cameras are clad in protective rubber skins. They wear helmets. They are in overalls with knee pads and hiking boots. And as they scramble over strange formations dressed like astronauts, they build the image test shot by test shot, adding strobes to illuminate the scene as required.

Many of the shots include a human being, which, we assume, is done to show scale. You would not otherwise appreciate the dimensions of the space.

The reward for them, Philippe says, is when they hear from people who have seen their work. "You made us dream," Annie reports their enthusiasm.

Ah, that's the thing. Who this week has let us dream? Only France, alas. And now Philippe Crochet and Annie Guiraud, too.

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