There’s a little bit of glamour in all of us. Or so some of us like to think. Usually, that glamour finds expression in private moments as we gaze into the bathroom mirror freshly made up or if we catch our reflection in a storefront window on a particularly good day.
For that fleeting moment of satisfaction, a few things have to hit the right notes: the lighting, angle, clothes, mood, props and makeup. Yet rarely in our daily lives do these elements occur simultaneously and in a natural setting.
From the 1930s to 1950s, a few fortunate women had all those high notes hit, albeit in the Carouge photo studio of photographer Ernest Piccot. His portraits of local women, their identitites unrecorded and unknown, now make up a retrospective at the Musée de Carouge entitled Elles. In the Lens of Ernest Piccot
Capturing glamour and everyday life
Taking inspiration from Hollywood film and fashion, Piccot borrowed the poses, accessories, lighting and locations from the glamorous photographic stills of the era still celebrated to this day.
In addition, Piccot immortalized the “small” and also celebrated moments of everyday life in Carouge, including baptisms, communions and weddings. And he captured the vibrant streets and architecture of the beautiful Sardinian city in its buildings, squares and fountains. Finally, he practiced industrial photography and reproduction of works of art.
Enduring legacy on film and glass
Deposited with the Archives of the City of Carouge upon his death, Piccot’s negatives and glass plates retain their mysteries, including the names of the models who posed for them. What remains is testimony to the influence Hollywood held over contemporary women’s idea of beauty and how to project glamour, allure and self-confidence, however fleeting those moments were.
NB: The Musée de Carouge is currently undergoing a beautification process of its own, so visit the current exhibition in its temporary building located at Boulevard des Promenades 25, 1227 Carouge. ♣
Elles. In the Lens of Ernest Piccot
Musée de Carouge
Blvd. des Promenades 25