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Classic cars as a framework for the expression of composition as a personal language. Colors, textures, shapes, light. Exploration.
Leica M6 & Kodak film
- WHAT GOES ON IN MY HEAD AT WEDDINGS
Music has always been at the center of my life. There are always musical phrases floating in my head pretty much every minute, even when I sleep. I go through life with a constant soundtrack in the background of my consciousness. The music I hear varies depending of my mood and the situations in front of me. Through the years I have noticed a 'wedding' playlist emerging slowly, pieces that run through my mind while I photograph a wedding day. The people in a wedding become like characters in a play or a movie or a music video clip. It's a way of reverse engineering I suppose. Generally the music is added to a movie when the footage is already there; for me the music comes first and it influences the way I photograph.
I see a wedding day as a play in 4 acts.
1. The preparations
Bride and groom are getting ready for what's to come. Often there is a slight tension which builds up in the final moments of the "getting ready" act, the climax being when the bride puts on her gown and magically 'becomes' a bride, with a new, almost outer worldly presence and glow. The transformation always touches me.
What goes on in my mind during these moments is often some cool jazz that morphs into higher intensity bebop and sometimes even touching free jazz. Miles (So What!, especially the beginning of his solo... Coltrane, sometimes Mingus or Monk.) The soundtrack of the 1957 Louis Malle movie "Ascenseur pour l'échafaud " (Elevator to the Gallows...obviously no pun intended with the symbology of getting ready for marriage!) also sometimes floats through my mind especially when the light is dramatic and there is a feel of calmness in the room.
2. The Ceremony
Things get quieter in my mind then. Debussy or Satie or Ravel provide the backdrop for what's unfolding in front of me. A sense of serenity, maybe even childlike naïveté.
3. The Couple portraits
This may be the weirdest. When I photograph the couple, there is this James Bond theme that I can't shake off. Casino Royale, the Chris Cornell theme song always pops up, especially the final vamp when Chris yells "you know my name"... A sense of epic heroism but also something linked to fate, destiny and a touch of melancholy. James Bond movies also represent to me the archetype of the 35mm film look, the colors, the grain, all features that I look for in my own work.
Lately there has also been the Future Utopia song. The ethereal mood is hypnotizing. Something sensual about it, some couples feel and look that way, it's like a video clip unfolding in front of me.
4. The Reception
There I invariably hear space age bachelor pad music! Esquivel or even vintage Herb Alpert stuff! Strange enough?
- BLOGGING IN 2023?
In the last months, I have been hearing so many friends and colleagues in the creative space expressing a frustration with our ways of engaging with our audiences since social media seems to have become our main vector. InstaGooners, all of us.
I’ll spare you a rant about the toxicity and the mediocrity of the entire 'influencer' revolution, its impact on the youth, on taste, on mental health, the materialism and the objectification it promotes, what it is designed for and what interests it serves … Let me just try to explain where I stand as a professional photographer.
Art vs Commerce. The eternal dilemma.
What did I sign up for when photography became my main source of income? What amount of artistic freedom am I willing to compromise, to sacrifice?
There have always been two camps. The ones who believe in finding out what the audience wants first, and then create to cater to market needs. And the other ones who believe the higher form of art comes from looking inward to connect to what Rick Rubin in his book "The Creative Act: A Way of Being", calls “The Source”; a force of pure unaltered creative expression. Market acceptance may or may not follow, but the consideration of serving a market is not involved in the creative process. Many successful examples can be noted in both camps throughout history.
However, the current situation with social media offers a new separate dilemma to both camps. Today, the creator needs foremost to cater to a synthetic algorithm in order to even have a chance to reach a human audience. The robot acts like a curation engine, a gate keeper, deciding if the market is even allowed to see a post. The robot’s prerequisites are based on a lot of confidential parameters that may be recalibrated or redefined unilaterally. The algorithm’s goal is not a secret: selecting the content that will keep the consumer addicted to scrolling, more likely then to be served the highest number of paid ads. It’s a simple and brutal volume’s game. A delivery of dopamine hits to both the consumer and the content creator is the enabling mechanism.
At the heart of my decision to take a break from social media and to explore new creative channels to communicate with an audience came the realization that my goal as an artist may not be to win a popularity contest. As a photographer, I allocate only 10 wedding dates a year. I want to remain exclusive and be able to offer my best work to these few special couples. It’s about the quality of that connection with my client, not about trying to appeal to everyone.
All that to say I am excited to explore ways to connect with you in a more meaningful way than hashtags. May this blog be part of it going onwards.
I hope you’ll log on once in a while to see what I am up to. I am so grateful for your interest. You’ll get to see the enthusiastic real me (not the reluctant instagooner trying to game the algorithm). Heck, you can even subscribe to my newsletter and be notified once in a while (I hate spam) when the blog is ripe for a new visit.
L'art doit être libre. Où il n'y a pas de liberté, il n'y a pas d'art." ("Art must be free. Where there is no freedom, there is no art.") - Arsène Bessette
- NYC I LOVE YOU
Sunday, Anna and I went for brunch in Soho. On our way down 6th Avenue I had to tell her how much I still love this city. "What do you love about it?" she asked. (She has more mixed feelings about it than I do). It made me reflect.
It's hard to explain without indulging in the 'it's about the energy' cliché. I guess it has to do with images from the childhood. There is a NYC mythology in the common subconscious, and even natural born Americans are sensitive to it; the mental image associated with NYC may pretty much look the same for every kid, at least in the western world, USA included. The way cinema has always depicted the city, the effervescence of its art scene in the 20th century and its impact on global culture have definitely played a role in building the brand....The famous Sinatra lyrics "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" should not be underestimated in their contribution in etching the attributes of NYC into the global psyche as well. "A tough place where the whole world comes to ruthlessly compete". A place of extreme wealth associated with global recognition and extreme hardship associated with broken dreams and unlucky circumstances. Everything and it's opposite. A world city that never sleeps, sort of an extra terrestrial space ship with its own codes and etiquettes, an island (I have always loved islands) that is also a world stage with the most prestigious exposure.
At the core of my fascination with it, there is the notion that few people move to NYC without a goal, a dream, an ambition. It's a place for risk takers, for talent, for people who believe in something, and who are radical (or romantic) enough to believe in the possible against all odds, rather than to settle into the rational, the reasonable, and the more secure life choices. My own life story epitomizes that very concept, hence maybe the deep bond I feel with NYC.
- ¡Viva México!
All images Leica M6/Portra400
- NOUVELLE VAGUE
A few images from our editorial shoot collab with Le Grenier, a wonderful store in Strasbourg (France) that specializes in vintage clothes. For this shoot we aimed for a vibe inspired by French cinema from the 70's, the "Nouvelle Vague" in particular. Our mood board was made of images and palettes from Godard's movies, especially "Pierrot Le Fou". I opted for film as I thought it would be fitting for the feel we were going for.
All images shot on a Leica M6 with Kodak Film. Scanned on a Noritsu scanner by The Find Lab.
This spring I went back home to Alsace for the first time since 2019. I met my new nephew, born during the pandemic.
Images shot on my Leica M6 and Kodak Film