Paps Touré


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Born in the 19th district of Paris, Paps is brought up in a family from the Ivory Coast and is soon well aware of the streets of the Danube neighborhood. The street… It is more than a school teaching you life, it is a second mother, a sanctuary, a never-ending source of inspiration…

If considering the street as a life school is today a common practice, Paps Touré goes beyond it. We all saw the young Antoine Doisnel from the « 400 coups »… Growing up with the street and leaving it… But Paps does not leave it, it embodies it !

Smart, all hands on everything and crafty, he hangs out with the older ones from the neighborhood, who soon teach him how to hand the street. Those experiences often underconsidered, those we may not want to see, those which give you the wrong reputation, but those which make you earn big and fast… What life doesn’t give him, Paps takes it. Without giving in. He takes it to better give it back. As a modern Robin Hood would do, an elegant and discreet gentleman from the hood, Paps only bares his teeth in case of extreme need and rather prefers to be surrounded by people’s natural kindness. Because eventhough Paps enjoys dogs, it doesn’t mean for the least that he doesn’t believe in men.

Paps is a solitary teen. Touched by the gaze of a street dog, he adopts him and leaves the family home. Paps is 16 and just walked a big step in life. A year later, he enjoys a relationship and the following year, he lives through the happiness of becoming a father. He settles down, learns how to live a peaceful and reassuring life, enjoys it for a few years and ends it abruptly, without any explanation. An impulsive gesture which brings him back simply to the street. He keeps his way with words and his sober and discreet style, but he knows well deep inside that he flirts with a misery destiny, comes close to the point of no-return, this invisible border which divides humanity, between those who are the system and those outside of it.

Finally pulled out from this path by a woman who loves him deeply, Paps starts to see life differently. One day, he buys a Nikon D40 camera with everyone’s objectives: to capture the present moment, keep memories, to stop time. He doesn’t yet realize the depth of the process he is involved in and how it will change his life…

Everything changes radically as soon as he takes his first picture. In a freezing winter day, we are on the Stalingrad bridge. He proudly carries this brand new camera. A beggar in his fifties looks at the horizon from the bridge, turns his head, Paps captures the shot, and there it is!... When he comes back home and looks at the picture, he feels a true emotional shock. Paps is overwhelmed with the image he just created, a shot which tells him about life, the street…

Self-centered but charismatic, offensive but funny, on a bike or walking, alone or with his two staffies, Paps Touré, lively person, takes from life what it has not naturally given him as a gift. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that he chooses the “street picture”, the kind which destabilizes conservatives, steals previous instants and reveals deep emotions felt within our society.

Giving back thus its nobility to the photographic genre catching the instant, Paps refines little by little his style, admires Elliott Erwitt, Robert Doisneau or Cartier Bresson, sharpens his eye and, as is well learned in the street, plays hard with tact to forge his place in the main arena !