Eileen Agar and Ploumanac’h

In July 1936, Eileen Agar and her partner Joseph Bard went on holiday to the northern coast of Brittany, where they discovered the extraordinary rock formations at Ploumanac’h.

Agar bought a Rolleiflex camera and photographed the rocks in a series of images now in the Tate collection.

I have written about these photographs in two slightly different versions. After delivering a paper on them at West Dean in 2005, I was invited by Jennifer Mundy to publish an expanded version in Tate Papers, the online research journal of Tate. This essay was in issue 4 (November 2005) and can still be accessed at: www.tate.org.uk

The essay was then adapted and slightly rewritten to form Chapter 3 of the book So Exotic, So Homemade, published in 2007.

An important element in this text was my own first hand experience of the sites described. I had visited Ploumanac’h in September, 2004, and the pictures I took there were partly research tools and partly the expression of my own photographic interest in the place.

The short slideshow here brings together a few of Agar’s photos from Ploumanac’h with my own pictures and a couple of locally bought postcards. My thanks go to Susan Butler for her participation in the (sometimes thorny) process of making the pictures.

T Picture Ploumanach