Few words about yourself?
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne.It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks.
Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres’s Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids. My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures.
That’s precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macro photography, were insects are predominant. Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I’m a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life: A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitutes a legacy that I will pass on to my children. My work reflects our way of life, revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist.
Though my work is deeply personal, It’s also accessible ,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questioning about freedom, nudity, being and having.
There is a certain mood with the children in your photographs. Few words on it?
I’m a father of six. My children are my subject, It’s a limitless subject. My photography looks like a kind of daily diary. Emotion may arise from ordinary situations, from little things refering to ourselves. That’s why family photo is a subject that is constantly renewing itself. I take the expression of an internet people telling that my photos are”street family”.
I’m quite fascinated by the “street photography” It isn’t something I can practice because I live in the countryside, but I find my work quite close to this spirit there. There are similarities in the crude side and spontaneous situations photographed. These are pieces of life that transcribe a certain reality.
My omnipresence with my camera made me invisible. I learned to anticipate the movements of children, cats, projections of water, moving objects.I place myself and I wait for things to put in place like a choréography.
I am extremely present with my children. I’m there when they play and this is often the game that introduces the photographic idea. Sometimes of course you need a boost, a gesture may suffice, or a verbal indication such as “do that again to see! “Or” back a little, “or” wait … go there! ‘.
These are most often indications of placing or time, without explanation of what I want to photograph. I think they have become accustomed to these few words launched. The important thing is to do it in motion, do not stop the game for a briefing . All is in real time.
We chose to live in the countryside, in a really old house, without unnecessary comfort nor television. Our vast yard, bordered by a stream, with its bamboo forest and a natural pool, is our universe. I learned to know this natural environment intimately, I know where to stand to catch the lights. Despite the relatively limited space, there is always plenty to discover, and the children’s ingenuity plays a predominant role in my inspiration.
Any advice for our readers?
I have no advice to give to young photographers, but I used to read, on some fora, testimonies of photographers saying that they were looking for a style, their own style. From my point of view, technique is very secondary. First asking oneself what we like, what passionate us seems to me the real way to know the pleasure of photographing.
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