Interview from LFI Magazine (April 2012)
“In the same way a musician takes lessons in reading music and aural training before applying themselves to an instrument, I started out in studio photography in order to pick up some practical skills. This was very useful, especially in terms of working with lighting, but I soon felt constrained in an environment where even the smallest detail is never left to chance. This did not fit with my idea of photography, as it restricted the expression of emotion. So I moved to the outside world, onto the streets, the arena where the theatre of life is played out naturally. What I find most fascinating is the thought of capturing a moment that will never exist again. If, during this exact moment, I manage to pull something organised and harmonious into the frame, it can be like a revelation.
Something I consistently, if not obsessively, try to emphasise is the loneliness, which is increasingly prevalent throughout our large metropolises. My home city of Paris is a very rewarding terrain; its districts vary greatly from each other in terms of their population and cultural codes of practice. I prefer going around the more ‘common’ districts, to which I feel a closer artistic affinity, rather than the ‘chic’ areas, but then again, every location has its own interesting theme. I can’t fully fathom what it is that compels me press the trigger, it’s very hard to describe, almost as if something mystical is at play, like an inner voice that tells me: ‘there is something to be captured in this or that particular moment’. I resonate with the words of André Kertész who once said ‘I interpret what I feel at any given moment, not what I see’. Generally, my pictures come about spontaneously, but I always try to visualise a composition in my mind before the actual moment arrives. On some occasions it never does arrive, after all, street photography demands patience, and, a good pair of shoes.
The other important thing for me is that I remain inconspicuous, not just because of my quiet personality, but also because of the fact that once my protagonists become aware of me, any body language or facial expressions that captured my attention in the first place, will immediately disappear.However, I sometimes imagine what it would be like to work on a completely different plane of experience, beyond the constraints of having to avoid interaction; to approach a scene from a heightened state of awareness, with absolutely no restraints, and be able to capture every single possible movement, configuration,and exchanged look inherent in a scene. I love roaming through Paris with my X1. But, someone who does not take pictures in the same way as everyone else will soon get noticed and branded either a voyeur or an idiot. Not long ago, I was walking along the Champs-Elysées with the aim of taking photos of tourists viewing the landmark attractions of the city. This earned me a whole host of angry gestures and bad language, simply because, rather than taking photos of the Arch of Triumph, I was a lot more interested in photographing them taking photos of it instead. In this situation, you would do well to never get aggressive yourself, avoid eye contact, and just move on.
Retaining the inquisitiveness of a child while your actions are informed by the doubts and restraints of adult experience, and always allowing something of yourself to flow into the picture: this is absolutely essential to me”.