Rayon vert by Senta Simond
“Tu sais qu’est-ce que c’est le rayon vert?” Marie Rivière’s listless character Delphine asks, her legs swinging, in Éric Rohmer’s 1986 film Le Rayon Vert [The Green Ray].
The film – a portrait of its main character’s halting search for summer romance – was based on Jules Verne’s 1882 novel of the same name. While in theory its title refers to an optical phenomenon – in which the appearance of the sun as it rises or falls beyond the horizon creates a brief flash of green, and with it a supposed moment of mental clarity for all those who see it – in reality its subject matter is far more elusive.
Simond’s portraits capture the tiny slivers of intimacy that can occur between artist and sitter under the right circumstances. By turns the photographer elicits affection, boredom, puzzled reflection, peace, resignation, joy and laughter in her subjects. “They are my friends, and friends of friends, some very close, that I have shot for 10 years,” S.S