I fell into Photography when I was very young, around eleven years old, in the middle of May 68, following improvised sessions in the photo lab of my passionate grandfather working with huge argentic films, at the back of his pharmacy, then at the gift of a Nikkormat FTn. Since then, I have not stopped photographing. My life has thus been a succession of freeze frames. I consider it a gift to have discovered photography at a very young age, never to have left it afterwards.
Paradoxically, I have played hide and seek all my life with the profession of photographer: illustration photographer in the 70s, then fashion photographer in the early 80s. My difficult relationship with the client, in such the particular environment of fashion, pushed me towards my other passion, architecture, to finally make it my job. I have been an engineer and architect, university professor, researcher on the city of the future. Professions of total autonomy which allowed me to read, to look, to travel, to meet, to compare my photographic work with others (Basilico, Boyer, Fastenaekens, de Fenoyl, Fokos, Fontana, Gruyaert, Horvat, Kenna, Kiarostami, Meyerowitz, Salgado, Sieff, …), to photograph continuously. The absence of financial constraints has led to desired projects built with total artistic freedom. I therefore claim to be an amateur photographer: a photographer who “loves”, who fights to keep his enthusiasm, his spontaneity, in order to build a personal work, far from commissions. “I consider myself as an amateur […], because I am eternally a beginner who discovers the world again and again” (André Kertész).
At the same time, I have always thought that one of the most noble missions of man, the only way that allows him to survive, was to transmit. There are several ways to transmit: by knowledge, or by the objects… In my previous life slices, I transmitted knowledge and dreams. I was fascinated by the teaching: nothing is stronger than seeing seeds of knowledge that we have sown grow into wild gardens. I dedicate this new life slice to the transmission of so-called works of art, objects of knowledge for those who follow me. Nothing is stronger than seeing a spectator of my images react, vibrate, or appropriate my work. Because photography opens up to seeing, and seeing is knowing. For me, photography does not produce entertainment, but a thought about the world. I was and I remain a mediator, a facilitator. I think today that creating art is not enough; it has to be shared. Sharing requires you to reveal who you are as an artist. To share, you need to be vulnerable in front of your friends, family, and peers. There is no reward without risk.
I wanted to devote myself solely to photography for the last part of my life; so here I am! I am attacking a new life slice during which I want to get out of my often monastic isolation which also became a comfort zone, from my patient accumulation of (numerous) photographic bricks, to do work, to structure and build a vision, to be able to transport. I would like to think of my art as an instrument of shifting towards something else, for the person who looks at my photographs. Art invites you to ask questions to open up perspectives. Artists are there to shake people up, to upset them. We are crossed, we are made to reveal other truths, to awaken consciences.
My background has greatly influenced my photographic practice :
- I consider myself as a young artist over sixty years old, a spirited late beginner. As a result, I represent a singularity in the world of visual arts. By inaugurating a biunivocal relationship to photography late in life, I de facto escape academicism of professional photographers or contemporary visual artists. My work is outside the dominant fashions: a look of naive art, if not raw in the process. I focus my images around a visual idea functioning as an illustrated aphorism.
- My itinerary is also modestly an assembly of diverse experiences and sublimated opposites. Indeed, any presentation concerning me always begins by highlighting the qualities linked to my past professions, with or against my photographic passion. This presentation runs the risk of arousing many misunderstandings, such as, for example, the idea of oppositions, even incompatibilities between these fields. But through my photographs, I hope that we can measure how much, for example, photography and architecture are linked by an unfailing spirit of complicity. The two disciplines have in common a significance of the pattern, as well as an acute awareness of space, light and matter. Both work on an arrangement of shapes, volumes, reliefs, solids and voids... Through the two architectural or photographic approaches, I experience what lives in me and what I live in. Moreover, I rather see this conjunction as a constructive dialogue, an openness to interdisciplinary approaches, to systemic complexity, to different points of view...
-My training as an architect opened me up to the "genius loci", the spirit of the place, a synthesis, for an individual and at a given moment, of the multiple emotions that retrospectively shape his feelings. Going to meet this singular place is the promise of touching on the essential. For a moment, I find in this place the strength of the invisible bonds that connect me to nature. It thus contributes to my photographic intention.
- My practice as an architect has also shaped the way I work. I start from an existing place, I percolate the information that my senses send back to me, and I present the results of this analysis in the form of abstract and harmonious images. Sometimes they resemble sketches containing complex information, other times they evoke maps with traces of human activity. Over time, they present a world that is abstract and detached from reality, but true. By trying to represent in a powerful and discreet way, the essence of the landscape, I thus express more emotions, impressions and reflections.
-My career as an architect has also shaped the way I work. I start from an existing place, I percolate the information that my senses send back to me, and I present the results of this analysis in the form of abstract and harmonious images. Sometimes they look like sketches containing complex information, other times they evoke maps with traces of human activity. Over time, they present a world that is abstract and detached from reality, but true. By trying to represent in a powerful and discreet way, the essence of the landscape, I thus express more emotions, impressions and reflections.
- I had enough time to carry out a fundamental reflection on the place of photography in our modern society, at a time when the circulation of the image has accelerated with digital immediacy. I think the sand of virality won't hold the substance. In the profusion of images and the permanent flow of the digital age, I try to find what makes a photo become iconic. How do I register my images in the collective memory? “A strong photograph is no longer the image of something, it is something in itself. (Ralph Gibson).
- Moreover, I have been a researcher and I think that photographers should be considered as researchers, people trained to think, to question, and to question... Today, I only focus on photography but I kept the old reflexes specific to my other practices: I gain my freedom by transforming the attention of my gaze into a contemplative practice
- Finally, I have always liked endurance sports. Pleasure and ecstasy only invite themselves there at the cost of rigorous discipline. For their part, the artists are in the interior, deep, intimate and intense listening, not in an exterior or only spectacular representation. We are far from physical seduction and the intoxication of speed; we are in silence and in an asceticism close to that of the marathon runner.