Excellent at capturing everyday moments but making them mesmerising, the title of photographer Géraldine Lay’s latest book, Impromptus, also doubles up as the perfect description of her work. Used to describe a short piece of instrumental music usually improvised, Impromptus outlines the quick snapshot nature of the photographer’s process, but additionally describes the situation in which this series was taken.
“The main frame of the book is built around two residencies realised in 2015 in Céret with the Lumière d’Encre association and in Nantes with the association Espho,” the photographer explains. Now made into a book by French publishers Poursuite, in composing the two trips together Géraldine’s work develops into “a poetic wandering, a hieratic journey through various French cities over recent years,” describes the publishers. As a result, the synopsis of the series is "not to tell a story about the place or the country but to be out of time”.
In her “intimate images, street scenes, colourful impressions both bittersweet and atemporal,” Géraldine points out familiar scenes you’ll see when visiting any new city or town. However it is her ability to notice these moments, a toddler clasping onto a biscuit, discarded furniture or just fallen leaves covering a corner of pavement that makes her work comfortingly therapeutic in its pedestrian point of view. And as Poursuite elegantly put it: “This series by Géraldine Lay unfurls a very distinct universe and endeavours to recount scenes witnessed, side rations facing reality…images like so many notes of light music, with slightly dissonant harmonies.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.