Photographer Jacques Garnier Finds Beauty Where People Don’t See It

A photographer-philosopher of the ordinary

Jacques Garnier, Out of Order (Newport Beach)[31]“I don’t see any sadness or melancholy in my work. I find beauty where people don’t always see it,” says the San Clemente artist. Garnier worked his way through college as a garbage man, the manual labor putting him in touch with his body and making him keenly aware of society’s waste. He graduated with degrees in French language and literature, specializing in the Age of Enlightenment and existentialism, so his meticulous photographs brim with a philosophical subtext. Seen here, the kitsch laundromat interiors—salmon and teal, beige flooring, wood paneling—are canvases of solitude, machines with gaping glass mouths and coin slots; both a Sisyphean merry-go-round and the literal cleanser of our dirty laundry … until the quarters run out. There are no people in “Out of Order,” just their forgotten, yellowing sheets; the wall behind the row of appliances recalling a childhood stuck in avocado, shag-carpeted dens. “Please” is the perfect bookend, the chilly chrome surfaces reflecting nothing but endless mismatched tile. Few suggestions of life, except a faceless man and what’s left behind: a few signs and an old magazine.—Dave Barton

_GarnierSee It! Garnier’s work is in the group exhibition “Smile: Expressions of Orange County” through Aug. 14 at the Orange County Great Park Gallery, 6950 Marine Way, Irvine, 949-724-6247, ocgp.org. His website is jacques-garnier.com.

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