FOCAL POINT surveys the landscape of emerging photographers and selects three talented, driven, and noteworthy artists to highlight each quarter. Each FOCAL POINT photographer receives mentoring from Crusade for Art to think about their work, their target audience, and how to best engage them. In this interview series, every FOCAL POINT photographer gets asked the same three questions, and their answers become a jumping off point for the mentorship.
Describe the arc of your photography career so far.
I started photography as an author nearly three years ago. At that time, I wanted to go deeper into the significance and not just take beautiful pictures. I was a little bit overwhelmed by photography everywhere (especially on the Internet) and had the desire to create something different.
In these three years, I’ve published five projects, all of them very different but all linked by the power of imagination. All those pictures seem to come from another reality yet they remain plausible. I really like this phrase about Gauguin and Polynesia : “It does not depict what he actually saw but rather what he hoped he would have found”. It kind of depicts my own journey into reality.
At the beginning I was really influenced by photographers like Crewdson, Di Corcia and Kooi and film-makers like Miyazaki and Burton but my influences change all the time. Nowaydays, I’m more into Rinko Kawauchi or Vanessa Winship’s photobooks. I also read a lot of Robert Adams books and every Alec Soth interview I can find.
After several publications on blogs and magazines, I had the chance to win the SFR contest last November and to see some part of my work exhibited in the Paris Photo fair. A lot of great opportunity came from that including a two-month solo exhibition in Copenhagen in February. I am also supported by Sony in France who provides me the gear and the resources I need to accomplish my projects.
If you were exactly where you wanted to be in your fine art photography career, what would that look like?
One sentence from a character in Miyazaki’s last movie caught my attention: “Artists are only creative for 10 years”. Since Miyazaki created movies for more than 30 years we can assume that it’s not true but you have to ask yourself at some point : “Am I still creative or not?”. I think for most of us, there comes always a point when you stop being creative and you just copy what you’ve done before. It scares me so if I had to choose one moment I would pick one far away from this. And I suppose right now is not bad, I have hope, opportunities, failures but I ‘m not stuck with what I do in terms of aesthetics and narration. I like that.
What are your goals for 2014 ?
I’m working on a book that I hope will be ready for the end of the year. I didn’t want it to be a compilation of the work I’ve already done before, I wanted to create something new. And I wanted it to do what books usually do: tell a story. There will be around 60 pictures in it, most of them are exclusive, and I’m still in the process of shooting. This is very exciting and very long and hard work, there is a lot of interrogation, tests, etc… It’s much harder than releasing a project of 15 pictures, but I really like it, and I can’t wait for it to be finished.
I am also exploring some new ways to present my work, and I have some discussions with public transportation companies in France. I’m going to Morocco next month to start a new project that I would like to display in huge sizes in public spaces. The SFR prize that I won last year has given me a lot of credibility, and I hope some good things will come from that.