What attracts you in traditional ceremonies and how did you first have the idea to photographically document them?
I started photographing them in 2006 and never really stopped ever since then. I’m attracted to a feeling of disorientation and excitement that you can find in these kinds of gatherings and costumed traditions. The visual collision between the subject and its background that exists during this ceremonies is an endless source of inspiration. I love the wildness, roughness of it and the way people let themselves go and don’t think anymore about how they should behave… I also like the childish aspect of people getting dressed to go and celebrate. I mean, there’s something brutal in every kind of traditions I photograph but in a way it’s all about going back to childhood, or at least to a primary and almost naively wild feeling. Just like when you’re a kid and you hide behind a door and suddenly you scream as loud as you can at your sister who just entered the room, and then you have a big laugh as she’s scared to death! I don’t know if it makes sense, this feeling of giving free reign to your instincts.
What is the story behind your series Shady?
Shady is a story I started in 2005, to experiment the photographic medium in a very simple and modest way, just by playing with various basic elements such as water, fire, earth, paint, etc. Creating some kind of home-made, unsophisticated special effects in order to get people confused about what they’re looking at. As I don’t retouch my images at all, I wanted to play with the immediacy of the photographic medium. I would show what I’d set up at the moment which seemed fake but was real though. These series are still ongoing in an endless way.
You also produce a lot of advertising and editorial work. What are the most and least interesting aspects of it?
I see advertising and editorial work as a lighter way of finding and experimenting ideas… like a sketchbook. When I’m shooting editorial work, I don’t put myself under too much pressure, even though I want to be proud of what I’m doing of course. I can authorize myself to some lighter images. The least interesting aspects of add and editorial work can be the lack of depth behind all of this, you wonder what the point is eventually, and ultimately, it is to sell some products. But I still think that it is a very interesting exercise anyway, plus it financially allows me to develop my own projects, so I guess this is the most interesting aspect of it…
You are part of the tinker street* collective. Can you describe the impact of the collective on your own work and how do you contribute to it on a daily basis?
Tinker street* is a kind of family for me since we started it in the summer of 2008; we almost all know each other quite well. We collaborate, share ideas, music, interests, clients, projects, and we are all big fans of each other. My agent is more like a friend who understands and knows my work so well that he’s able to direct me to ad jobs which are still interesting for me. I feel lucky as it is not the case very often. Being a photographer is a fairly solitary process and the group is good to help to open and extend my perspectives. On a daily basis we communicate and keep each other aware of what we’re doing. No pressure though, this a quite free relationship.