Have you always been interested in photography? When did you start taking pictures and why?
Well I was used to having a camera in my hands as a child. I think I tried photographing a cricket in the grass when I was eight years old. They were disposable cameras for the summer as well. One of them was waterproof. I had been very insistent. There must be a box with the shots somewhere, though there’s probably just a lot of arms, sand and invisible fishes. You quickly realize it’s extremely difficult to get a simple plate to make visible all the richness, all the complexity of things you have in front of you. I started getting seriously interested in photography in high school. We used to go to a friend’s grandfather’s garage who had an enlarger. We’d put some music on and develop black and white.
Your work features portraits of anonymous subjects as well as famous people. How different is taking a photograph of an unknown boy than one of a famous singer? And what creative process do you through in each case?
The only difference lies in the constraints. The ones imposed by the magazine, the ones imposed by the artist etc. When it comes to personal work, I’m entirely free, it’s even my choice not to take the photograph if I decide the good conditions are not all there. The pressure is not the same when you must take a good portrait, no matter what, in a certain time and place. The celebrity, the person’s name does not really matter though.
Can you explain and detail the idea behind your series Garden Ruin?
Garden Ruin is a series developing with time, on a period of about two years. It’s made of photographs of people I am close to, or was at some point. The idea is the abandoning, some sort of loneliness but also, the idea of discovering things. This is done as much with portraits as it is done with landscapes, and this mix is very important to me in my series. A wild landscape, an abandoned garden is a place that is still very alive. You can find a lot of very beautiful things, it’s a land of freedom.
Your series Cuizon-Gargilesse seem to document the place where you either grew up or spent your family holidays. Is that correct? In terms of narrative photography, who do you look up to?
That’s correct. This series was made in the region of Berry, in France, around the villages of Cuzion and Gargilesse. My main point was to explore a very familiar place, dedicated to the summer holidays as well as the long, winter weekends. The permanence of this village, unaware of all the changes, of all the novelty, is something that interests me deeply. It freezes a family’s history, its roots and changes that are seen through the children and the way they have to exist and interact within this pre-existent environment. How the renew the place, as well, through their own eye and that is also the case for me. Let me also say that is an ongoing project, I’ll be photographing it for the next two seasons I think.
Just like a lot of professional photographers, you have a Flickr account as well as a personal website. What does Flickr bring to you on a daily basis?
Flickr allowed me to get some kind of exposure. Magazines got to know me through it. It was an important step in my career and you get to discover lots of impressive things through it as well. You get more confident when you see people like your work. It’s very positive when you are beginning and not feeling very sure of what you’re doing.
What kind of projects are you working on these days?
There are these series about that country village I’d really like to finish before the end of the summer. I will also be shooting a series for a fashion magazine, Under The Influence. It’ll be based on the 1980’s, on Thatcher years especially. It should come out during the spring. There is also Brisa Roché’s album, I’m working with her now and I hope it’ll be out before summer. I have a few exhibitions for 2010 as well. I have other projects but they’ll remain secret for now.
If you could photograph one person on Earth, who would it be?
The New Wave actor Jean-Pierre Léaud.