Photograph by Lucien ClerguePhotograph by Lucien Clergue

Lucien Clergue: The Bullfight

Clergue's photographs of the bull fight are much more stark presenting the corrida as theatrical tableau. In El Cordobes, Nîmes, 1965, the crowds in the stands form a single mass acting as backdrop to the performance.

As Fulton points out, "Clergue's camera angle emphasizes the mastery of Cordobes, the size of the animal, and the site: a Roman arena filled with spectators." By allowing the background of the image to fall out of focus, the spectators lose any sense of specificity. The spectators fall out of history and become as timeless as the performance itself.

The violence and the theatre of the bullfight are seen as formalized ritual and dance. As Fulton explains, through attention to the placement of figures and flowing line and through their classic balance, the photographs evoke the bullfight as the mythic past.

Next: Clergue's Landscapes