• Carolle BENITAH

I will never forget you.

I collect anonymous photographs. I am fascinated by the stand-to attention happiness displayed in these photos. The pictured people are ghosts following me noiselessly and I make them mine to create an imaginary family album.

Putting back together my family’s missing memory, inventing a made-to-measure one in which praised ancestors, territories unknown to me rise back from the dead. These discarded photos, sold for a few euros, see their status change by some gesture, applying gold leaf. Masking a part of the image, and more specifically these ghost faces, I increase the possible projections tenfold.

The golden cover operates both as obliteration and a shiny surface on which our own faces are reflected. I choose shots that evoke some déjà-vu, a familiar pose, happy moments that illustrate all those fables about ancestors.

This ritualized happiness over the course of events refers to lies about the family myth. It clears out the dark matter linked to the family, precisely absent from these photographs.

Using these images is a way to live vicariously and recreate a dreamed life. Nevertheless, using gold leaf creates memory gaps, imposes some distance so that I’m not fooled by the lie they tell.

Working on these photographs allows me to mourn this ideal family life. Taking back one by one all the old fantasies about these projections and dismantling them makes this symbolic death bearable


Carolle Bénitah started photography in 2000 after some introspective questioning.

The fragile dimension of life prevailed and photography worked as an existential support. Faced with difficulties to grasp reality, photography acted as a new channel for meaning.

Her work focuses on family, desire, loss, mourning, confinement and universality. Carolle Bénitah graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, with Honours, Arles and from the École des Beaux Arts d’Aix-en-Provence with a degree in Fine Arts with Honours - Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique (DNSEP)

Her work was exhibited in various places, galleries and fairs: Maison d’Auguste Comte, H2M Center, Rose Gallery, Espace
photographique Hôtel de Sauroy, Marrakech Museum of Photography, Pavillon de Vendôme, Festival de la Luz (Buenos Aires), Paris Photo (Paris / Los Angeles), Art on Paper, Aipad, CONTEXT Art Miami