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“When the world threw humanity into a spin with a pandemic, Helene used the opportunity to reframe the experience into a visual treatise on what it means to be human.”   Louie Psihoyos,
Academy award winning director of  ‘The Cove’ and founder of the Oceanic Preservation society.  Excerpt from the text he wrote in Hélène’s Guétary’s latest exhibition’s catalogue.


I’ve always used photography as a tool for Poetic Realism. It allows me to use reality as a material to convey metaphor, and metaphor to give a new depth to reality. During the pandemic, this medium became an emergency channel for expression, a weapon of practical magic to ward off the crises faced by humanity.

ZEITGEIST is a call for attention to the fragility of our world. It is a metaphoric visual essay to remind us of our status as human beings and our place on this planet. 

Both oracles and witnesses, the Zeitgeist characters, draped in red - the color for Resistance –, turn up in meaningful places.  In doing so, they question the Human factor. 

Their presence, sometimes enigmatic, sometimes spectacular, reminds us of what these places represent, contain, or allow.  Fleeting guardians of natural sites or man-made environments, they whisper to the viewer to remain aware of how precious our world and our values are…


I started these series in the fall of 2020 in the Island of Ibiza. I wanted to explore the ocean as a place to be preserved, and also the shores of the ocean as a frontier that separates humans... 

This was cut short with a new lockdown in Paris, limiting my movements within 10 km of my home.  The Zeitgeist became poetic protesters.  They appeared in symbolic places in Paris, related to the social and cultural consequences of the pandemic, to highlight the suddenly nebulous outlines of our values and our freedom.  From our empty theaters to the columns guarding our deserted Ministry of Culture or the uninhabited Palais de Tokyo Museum…

When the lockdown lifted, I continued the work on images related to the preservation of the climate and the Ocean environment, on the Normandy and Mediterranean coastlines, then to Venice and its lagoon. I was lucky to be invited by patrons to Saint Lucia in The Caribbean, then to Mauritius Island by the Basu Foundation, who is also allowing me to to push further my exploration by inviting to produce images in India in 2023.

I will keep of roaming the world with my Zeitgeists.

Hélène Guétary

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