According to his website, Patrick Gilliéron Lopreno is a Swiss photographer, born in Geneva and still living and working there. He has worked for various Swiss and foreign newspapers and institutions.
His most recent work, Voyages en Suisse, has been released as a book and is being exhibited at Galerie Focale in Nyon.
Voyages en Suisse is a very personal look at Switzerland. According to the publicity, Lopreno travelled 1000s of kilometres across the country in order to show it in a new light.
The show is a curious mix of Swiss countryside, portraits, semi-industrial scenes and houses. The effect is to give an uncompromising insider’s view of what Switzerland is really like – that it’s not all chocolate box scenery. Instead, we have real vignettes from everyday life and what they do show is the diversity which makes the country rich.
For me, the real strength of the exhibition lies in the portraits. They are very eye-catching – of interesting-looking people, sometimes in situations which make me want to know more. They don’t look like street shots – I imagine that they were taken with the full knowledge of the subject. This has allowed Lopreno to get close, very well framed photos, but the impressive thing is that he still managed to capture natural-looking (i.e. unposed) images.
The whole exhibition is of B&W prints, of different sizes. Some are very grainy suggesting, but not guaranteeing, the use of film. Since Lopreno comes from a photojournalist background, film is probably a safe bet, but it looks as if it has been push-processed quite a lot judging by the degree of grain and heavy contrast. It’s not a common factor across all photos, but very obvious in some of the bigger prints.
All in all, this is a small, but worthwhile exhibition. It shows a completely different side of Switzerland to what many people imagine. While the landscape and semi-industrial shots are interesting, the real gems are the portraits – they shine in a whole different way and I could easily imagine an exhibition of just his portrait work.
The exhibition runs until the 30th of October 2016.