Magali Nougarède (born 1969) is an inspired observer of personal details. The slightly worn thread on a grey sweater, a crisp gold-edged insignia on the corner of a tweed lapel, soft pink flesh radiating underneath a thin pink t-shirt, the wary gaze and steely angle of a young girl’s chin, all these details, captured with extraordinary precision, tell us volumes about the curious, precarious condition known as being alive.
Born in France and now based in England, Ms. Nougarède has concentrated on investigating residents of her new home turf. Her two most recent series’, “Toeing the Line” and “Crossing the Line” involve the re-viewing of the familiars of two East Sussex coastal communities through the artist’s ‘foreigner’s’ eyes. Despite the luminescence of the seaside light, utilized to dazzling effect in all her images, Nougarède is not recording the picaresque. She is most concerned with the lifetime’s worth of choices her lens is transcribing. Each image tells us specific stories about class, gender and luck. In a particularly poignant image, two aged friends, silhouetted against a bright blue sky, lean steadily into a hard wind. Brave as their determined stroll seems, the image is comprised primarily of sky. Tufts of cotton ball clouds float with unobstructed grace above the hard-working figures below. Though the light and the colors are ball-gown beautiful, this life does not look easy. In image after image, Nougarède offers a humanist’s photo essay on the nature of courage, resolve, delight and difficulty; the blessed injustice of simply being.
The artist’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She combines her art practice with occasional editorial and commercial work, commissions and teaching. She lectures regularly on editorial photography. Her work has been published in numerous publications including Art Review, Art in America, Photo District News, British Journal of Photography, Fotogallery and Photoworks.