Passport presents François-Marie Banier’s portraits of immigrants made on the streets of Paris-“these men with thousands of kilometers behind them,” says Banier, “who appear suddenly at Place de la République, or gathered near the Gare de l’Est station, or along the Canal St. Martin, eyes on the horizon.” The resulting pictures are tender, candid, and a form of embrace: “I march up to them with my camera which is like a small cannon-hardly a reassuring sight in these times of war we now have in Paris. And, as if the word had somehow got around, one by one they all enter its dark chamber as if it were a confessional where you unburden yourself of your sins, your obsessions and your despair. I open my arms to each one, press each head against my heart. Their alarm-I know how they feel.” Produced at the size of a real passport and pairing Banier’s photos with lyrical text fragments by Atiq Rahimi, Passport is a compassionate look at exile, “foreignness” and belonging.
No, I beg you / not to look at me / I am an outlaw / I am without a country, a stranger.Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus