France, born 1923
Gelatin silver print, 1965
Collection Museum of Photographic Arts
Gift of Mother Jones International Fund
© Marc Riboud/Magnum Photos
© Museum of Photographic Arts
A member of Magnum, a prestigious group of
photojournalists, Marc Riboud has photographed all over the world. His images
display the sympathy and respect he holds for his subjects in addition to a
sense of strong aesthetic sensibility. Heavily influenced by Henri
Cartier-Bresson, who displayed the same artistic concerns in his
photojournalism, Riboud combines poignant reportage with refined composition in
Riboud’s photograph, Beijing, is part of a well-known series of images he made of China over the course of a number of visits that began in 1957. The photograph has been shot looking out onto the street of Lui Li Chang from the inside of a building. This street was famous for its art and antique shops. This is a photograph about framing. Riboud has arranged the photograph so that we look through different windows onto a street scene with people and buildings in Beijing. Using the windows in this manner creates a number of smaller scenes within the larger one. A shop with a similar pattern of windows on the far side of the street can even be seen through one of these rectangular openings.
“It is through visual observations, more than any other means, that one can try to know and understand China today. What does the average Chinese think? A foreigner, even one fluent in the language, cannot answer since a candid communication today with a Chinese is rare. The “party line” is repeatedly recited by its faithful believers. That is why the best, and possibly the only way, to discover China is to look at it.” –Marc Riboud, excerpt from artist statement in the 1972 photograph exhibition, Behind the Great Wall of China, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
(For Grades 4-6)
Where do you think this photograph was taken? Why?
Why did the photographer choose to stand inside a building to take a picture of the outside? What is the effect of the window frames?
How would the photograph be different if there were no window frames?
If you took a picture of the outside, through your bedroom window, what would be in the frame?
(For Grades 9-12)
How is this composition affected by balance? Rhythm?
How does the use of window frames affect the overall composition of this photograph? Is it effective?
How does the use of photography influence the meaning of this artwork?
This list of resources is available for use at the Dubois Library at the Museum of Photographic Arts and is a selection of a large collection of work about Marc Riboud. The Library is open by appointment to MOPA Members, educators and researchers, and its collections are available for on-site use only. Contact the Library at 619-238-7559x216 or email@example.com.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), and Cornell Capa. 1972. Behind the great wall of China: photographs from 1870 to the present. Greenwich, Conn: Distributed by New York Graphic Society.
Riboud, Marc. Archival Materials. Vertical Files. Museum of Photographic Arts, Edmund L. and Nancy K. Dubois Library, San Diego, CA.
Riboud, Marc. 1981. Visions of China: photographs, 1957-1980. New York: Pantheon Books.
Riboud, Marc, Michael Edelson, and Cornell Capa. 1972. The
Concerned photographer 2; the photographs of Marc Riboud, Roman Vishniac, Bruce
Davidson, Gordon Parks, Ernst Haas, Hiroshi Hamaya, Donald McCullin, W. Eugene
Smith. New York: Grossman Publishers.
Riboud, Marc, and Philippe Devillers. 1970. Face of North Vietnam. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Stepan, Peter. 2008. 50 photographers you should know. Munich: Prestel. Note: This resource provides biographical information on Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of Riboud’s primary influences.
Warren, William, and Marc Riboud. 1972. Bangkok. New York: Weatherhill.