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Benoit - Open to Interpretation Photographer Benoit Malphettes Reflects on Emotions

“Open to Interpretation” Exhibit Opens at County Museum

Photographer Benoit Malphettes Reflects on Emotions The San Bernardino County Museum is delighted to present Open to Interpretation, by Benoit Malphettes, a world-renowned French-American photographer who left the fashion and editorial part of his photography to return to his childhood dream of taking pictures without constraint. The photography exhibit will open Aug. 25 and run through Jan. 8, 2023.

For this series, Malphettes returns to the intimate and personal world of still life photography. With the help of artifacts that he has collected over the years; odd objects, fragments, old documents, whatever, until the moment comes where he no longer looks at them for what they are but, instead, he follows them within the world they invite him into. He then deliberately frees them from their static existence by combining them with unexpected company, placing them in provocative or threatening positions, until new emotions emerge — fate, affliction, fear, heartache, solitude, senescence — emotions that, sooner or later, accompany us in our journey. Many of these photographs are autobiographical and reflect his Jesuit education as well as his familiarity with French art, and may elicit some uncomfortable emotions or memories with the hope that viewers will appreciate the importance of the themes displayed.

Malphettes shared, “Certainly, the viewer will discover explicit or diffuse associations that may or may not have anything to do with my personal views, but the symbols are all there for the audience's choosing, from time irreparably slipping away from us to the inescapable truth of death, all skillfully camouflaged by our daily subterfuges. Sometimes, I try to explain to myself the strange and disparate concoctions suggested by my photographic work but mostly, I am left with more questions than answers.”

Interim Museum Director, David Myers expressed, “Benoit’s work continues to evolve in a profoundly artistic direction. These surreal images, many produced during the pandemic lockdown, are evocative of inward thoughts and conflicting feelings of loneliness, spirituality, and hope that are relatable in our society during this time of healing.”

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional, cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is located at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child ages 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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