Kate Barry, “My Own Space”: Exhibition at Quai de la Photo

Spéos is involved in Quai de la Photo, a new floating art center on the Seine, which is dedicated to contemporary photography. It opened to the public in July 2023.

From December 15, 2023, to March 20, 2024, Quai de la Photo will present the exhibition “My Own Space” by Kate Barry, curated by Sylvain Besson.

About the exhibition

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Kate Barry’s passing in 2013, at the age of 46, Quai de la Photo is organizing a retrospective in her honor. This exhibition aims to showcase the diversity of her work, as explained by Sylvain Besson, the curator of the exhibition. The title of the exhibition, “My Own Space,” is inspired by the eponymous book published this year by Éditions de La Martinière.

In contrast to the glamour of magazines, the constraints of commissioned work, and the excessive media attention on her family as the daughter of John Barry and Jane Birkin, Kate Barry creates stripped-down atmospheres imbued with poetry and subtlety, simultaneously melancholic and oppressive.

This exhibition was initially presented in Chalon-sur-Saône at the Nicéphore Niépce Museum, which received from Kate Barry’s family the entirety of her negatives, contact sheets, digital archives, as well as a broad selection of prints (with the remainder being held by the National Library of France).

Nearly 80 photos will be displayed on the two floors of Quai de la Photo for more than 3 months.
The exhibition is divided in two parts:

  • A first selection of works from December 15, 2023, to February 5, 2024,
  • Followed by a second selection from February 7 to March 20, 2024.

This is an opportunity to showcase the breadth of Kate Barry’s fragile and poetic work through her iconic projects and favorite subjects: melancholic landscapes, fashion, portraits, and especially her perspective on her family.

About the Photographer – Kate Barry

Kate Barry began her career as a photographer in 1996. Her commissioned work for fashion and magazines earned her significant renown, contributing to shaping the imagery of an era. Notably, her mother-daughter campaign for the brand Comptoir des Cotonniers from 2003 to 2006, and her portraits of actresses during the release of François Ozon’s film “8 Women” in 2002, left a lasting impression.

Previously surrounded by a world of photographs and various image producers, Kate Barry, who also served as a model for her own fashion creations, quickly established herself as a leading photographer starting in 1996. Her privileged access to certain personalities, combined with her unique and distinctive visual style, attracted the attention of numerous clients and models.

Despite the constraints of commissioned projects, Kate Barry infused her work with her own vision, allowing her to explore more personal endeavors. Her oeuvre is characterized by its delicacy and fragility, prompting introspection. For those close to her, her landscapes represent her “true” photographic work, the most faithful reflection of her personality, where her concerns and silences are fully expressed.

> Read the interview with Kate Barry’s son, Roman de Kermadec, in Paris Match – October 2023 (PDF in French)

“Photography was not an obvious choice. Far from it. […] It was a pleasure that I did not see. I took pleasure in it later, when it became more important, when it was necessary to build again. I was able to create my space, a space of my own.”

– Kate Barry, interview with Léo Scheer (2005)

Practical Information

  • Venue: Quai de la Photo, 9 port de la Gare, 75013 Paris.
  • Dates: December 15, 2023, to March 20, 2024.
  • More information