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Thomas CHABLE. Au-dessus des nuages

A photographer of here and elsewhere, Thomas Chable has travelled to a number of countries, mainly in Africa, including Mali, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Morocco, but he has also been to Mexico and France. Moving away from the purely documentary, Thomas Chable travels with an open mind, generally without a precise goal or preconceived idea, giving pride of place to chance encounters, even if reality is such that he sometimes cannot turn away. He immerses himself in places, lights, materials and atmospheres. He reveals a country little by little, fragment by fragment. Signs of life are discreet, no doubt out of modesty, as sensations take precedence over exchanges.

Thomas Chable works slowly, over time. When he travels, he takes the time he needs – the time to clear his head, to see, to meet and to absorb this elsewhere. In just over thirty years of photography, he has put Africa at the heart of his work. Among his most important series are Odeurs d’Afrique (Smells of Africa), a journey along the river Niger, and Brûleurs (Burners), a substantial body of work produced in Morocco, Niger, France and Belgium that centres on people who wish to cross the border into Europe clandestinely via the Straits of Gibraltar. Thomas Chable’s daughter, Salomé, and his family and friends have been the subject of a more intimate and personal series, close to a photographic diary. In recent years, Thomas Chable has taken a greater interest in Ethiopia, where, once again, old friendships and new chance encounters guided him on his journey.

Au-dessus des nuages (Above the clouds) is a selection from various series, mixing earlier and more recent works by the photographer. Thomas Chable teaches photography at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Liège. He is represented and supported by Semence de curieux (Liège) and the gallery Le Réverbère (Lyon).


Thomas Chable by Thomas Chable

  • Born in Brussels (capital of Europe, and its king’s palace).
  • As a child, holding his father’s hand, he visits the Museum of Central Africa in Tervuren.
  • Takes classes with photographer Hubert Grooteclaes in Liège.
  • He and Coco travel whenever they can, not by bike, sometimes by train.
  • Don’t talk about it, travel stories are boring.
  • For not having wanted to go there, drinks a few rums in Havana.
  • November 4, 1999, Salomé is born!
  • A bit later, urged on by Jean-Louis Godefroid, releases the book Odeurs d’Afrique.
  • Somewhere in Palestine, confronted with realities, he thinks to himself he cannot – or can no longer – not see.
  • An intermittent father and photographer, he loses himself around the migrants, the brûleurs, on the track connecting Niger to Europe – brûleurs, the name given to people who clandestinely want to reach Europe from North Africa.
  • The book Brûleur is published in the autumn of 2006.
  • Drawn by the light, one day in 2004 he steps into the gallery ‘Le Réverbère’ (The streetlamp) in Lyon.
  • Decides he would like to go and see the Horn of Africa.
  • Goes there and loses himself, alone or with his family, in the Danakil Desert and on the high plateaux of Ethiopia.
  • In Belgium, he walks between the Pierre de La Falhotte in Lierneux and mount Arduinna.
  • As for the rest, who knows.

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Thomas Chable, Chiré, Ethiopie, 2013. ©Thomas Chable

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© Musée de la Photographie
Visuel exposition
© Musée de la Photographie
Visuel exposition
© Musée de la Photographie