Plowings, Lauragais, France, 2018


More than ever driven by an urgency of transmission, I seek through photography to see, while everything in this world prevents us from seeing; to remain free and open to the world; to put me in layoff; to make foresight and chance accomplices; to impose silence on the gaze; to tell stories. To do this, I am a photographer-surveyor who is part of the register of interpretation, over the long term, often starting from my obsession with certain motifs.

The photographer, a free man

I try to remain a free spirit, open to others, open to the world: to keep a certain tenderness, a delicacy and an attention to others or to space with some sympathy. It's a very personal act that aims not to let myself be locked up, neither by others nor by myself. Also to remain free to change, to do something else. To exist. "I only exist if I photograph", to paraphrase Jorge Luis Borges.

Towards an expanded consciousness, to be open to the world.

I try to stop analyzing, to let myself be carried away by my intuition in an agnostic approach, that is to say without hypotheses. “Finish with the head!” (Orson Welles). I don't take pictures, they take me. I do not intellectualize my work, but I let the patterns come to me, unconsciously and spontaneously. Photography is not so much about the brain, but more about intuition. I seek to let go, to reach a state of temporal weightlessness that promotes encounter and openness to the world. This state comes from an almost mystical feeling of understanding and expanded consciousness, a feeling of prescience, an altered state of consciousness that arises in front of a place, a material, or a space. This state produces the image and no longer a passive attitude of reception of visual information. This process triggers in me a more intimate perception of the world around me, broadens my vision of it, and frees me from all that can interfere with my subject to bring me closer to it. Less interested in the forms of the visible than in the essence of the world, I liken photography to a spiritual quest: a drive towards a rediscovered "spirituality" of space. I thus develop a mystical conception of photography. Paradoxically, I don't want to be conceptual, but I prefer to be close, to belong. I try to make myself available to anticipate and capture the flashes: an unstable balance between extreme concentration - being in your bubble - and the openness necessary for creation. "A photographer is a tightrope walker on the edge of chance who tries to catch shooting stars" (Guy le Querrec).

The silence of photography opposite of the tumult of images

I seek to impose silence on the gaze. The eye must learn to listen before looking. The silence of photography is opposite of the tumult of images. “Photography is silence” (Raymond Depardon). I try to substitute the notion of gaze for that of perception. What interests me in a photograph is the silence it emanates. A silent photograph speaks to our inner thought. But silence is intelligence, the moment during which we will reflect and take the time to look. Not to be a voyeur, but to see. It is a way of containing the talkative word and keeping only its compressed expressive charge. In fact, my images are restrained, renounced, in a tension between the affirmation of a presence and the awareness of absence. I have the will to no longer impose myself on, but to start from or lean against. The photographer's loneliness favors this silence, helps create a void around him. In fact, my work offers the image of loneliness, wandering, questions about the human condition. The human figure disappears, it is almost absent but evoked by a roundabout way, a shadow, a trace... This absence of man contributes to giving a timeless character to my works. I show what happens when men leave space. Most of my photos are uninhabited to avoid the anecdotal function of men, “photographing places like a crime theatre” (E. Atget). This feeling of loneliness and gentle latency gives the spaces a theatrical scale, gives the strange feeling of being in a movie set without actors. These solitary and silent places have become for me sources of protection, refuge : a private sanctuary. People fear emptiness. While an "empty" photo has the ability to show, in hollow, the presence of the human being. This solitude is chosen and claimed. In the vacuity of spaces, I choose places and raise them to the rank of monument: monument-door, monument-tree…

The storytelling

I believe in storytelling, narration. Being able to tell a story is something that has always fascinated me. I seek in my photographs to tell stories, to make a work of fiction, and not to reproduce reality. My work is not documentary but poetic. Many documentary photographers today are moving towards storytelling. Whereas before, the snapshot had to tell the whole story. Thus, storytelling appears to be the most natural way to organize ideas, experiences and thoughts: for example, a short and simple story explaining what I think, who I am, and where I am going. Narration also appears as the most natural way to abstract from the case. The case can carry other realities. Instead of thinking case by case, think by the case. Starting from the index paradigm to create a world. Exhume the missing links between the clues, organize a story that makes the plot of events understandable.
I seek, by telling stories, to create a work of fiction, and not to reproduce reality, to open up imaginations, to create my own world. “Photography is the literature of the eye” (Rémy Donnadieu). Photography is one of the most universal languages, but I believe that the practices that involve writing a story are the ones that will endure. I also like to tell stories that summon others: the potential leads generated by an image allow us to glimpse the beginning of future works. A good photograph calls for other images, where we did not expect them. My photographs, even those that seem completely abstract, contain an underlying anthropomorphic meaning, metaphorically referring to deeply human and existential questions and narratives, such as loneliness, the fragility of life, the fear of death. I like it when my photos go beyond my intentions, to open an unsuspected window in my mind or in that of the spectator. I am by the narration turned towards future bearers of memory. Annie Leibovitz: "It's in the intervals that you can really tell a story". Storytelling, narration appears to be the most natural way of making others understand something quite different from what is being told (we see this with children) and of organizing ideas, experiences and thoughts for oneself. It makes it possible to fit facts into identifiable structures and to memorize the complex structures of reality. »

Rapeseed, Sea, Sky
Rapeseed, Sea, Sky, Britanny, France, 2019

Art has its own truth

To do this, I subscribe, not to the reproduction of reality, but to the register of fiction, or rather of a connection with something beyond reality. The characteristic of a photographer is to betray reality. You just have to accept this betrayal and make it consistent with yourself. “We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth, at least the truth we are given to understand. The artist must know how to convince others of the veracity of his lies” (Picasso). Show through another interpretation, the very essence of the subject. I thus claim photography as a means of constructing my reality. “Art does not reproduce the visible; it makes visible. And the graphic domain, by its very nature, easily leads to abstraction” (Paul Klee). The borders between reality and abstraction disappear by opening up a new horizon. To look at, to take a shot, is to take what we already have. My work is not documentary but poetic. My images do not depict the landscape; they reveal nature, experienced as a spiritual place; the product of an individual experience, sensory and capable of a singular aesthetic elaboration. My experience of nature is therefore fundamentally mystical. “Give up the idea of a mimetic representation of reality. The real is not the visible, but the invisible, and the artist's mission is to reveal it to the world” (Yves Klein).

A surveying photographer, a man on the move

I am a man on the move. My eye is always traveling. I am passionate about travel, in the sense of going to meet the other, to cultivate one's gaze, to lose one's bearings. I would quote a Tuareg proverb: “To travel is to go from oneself to oneself through others”. I like to describe myself as a photographer-surveyor, an eternal walker, a watcher for the unnoticed. Rather the journey than the goal, rather the journey than the destination. More than ever, the here exists only through the presence of the elsewhere. Travel is thus for me an intellectual and physical discipline of healing, of critical understanding of the world. It starts, of course, with everyday places. To be the visitor of one's street to detect there what one no longer sees in what one sees every day, to interrogate in the hidden or the evidence of everyday things, to discover what one does not had never noticed. The device at my fingertips offers me this discovery. Through photography, I (re)discover the taste for travel, that of the long term, of sobriety and wonder. For the photographer, the main motivation of the trip is to physically practice space, to feel light and matter. The photographer's luck is walking, wandering, strolling. Walking allows you to enter into the intimacy of space through all the senses, between visual and tactility: feel distances, proximity, experience through the body what it costs to walk around, grasp what space is made of. My photographic wanderings are thus for me infinite sources of wonder. Wonder is in itself a journey. Without wonder the world would not be. I move towards an intensification of the matter or the energy of a place, in search of my entry into resonance with the place. The permanent reframing operated by the one who does not stop, leads to a recomposition of the world. But it is important to keep going straight and walk straight. The photographic act is spiritual, but it is therefore also physical. It creates a real tension in me. I find there an outlet that brings me peace, escape, and reflection. “Each time I photograph, I have the impression of pushing back the frontiers of death” (Lucien Clergue).

The long time

I subscribe to the long term, if not to timelessness. I seek to produce in my photographs a temporal distance, not by showing objects far from our present, but by confronting us with universes that seem out of time. My photographs seem to be imbued with a rhythm in resonance with nature or the nature of man, with a form of duration, or even timelessness. They seem in total contradiction with the idea of the decisive and fleeting moment. "Time runs and flows" (Henri Cartier-Bresson). I advance on a ridge line between the instantaneousness of the photographic gesture to the hundredth of a second, and a moment of eternity. Suspend the moment by registering in the long term. These days, the timelessness of places immersed in the absolute calm of their past lives, or the expectation of a future, challenges me. My work is thus an invitation to an immobile and patient contemplation, a contemplation by which we would give up grasping things, freezing them in an essence, not discovering their passing form. The long time is also important to apprehend a work: the work of art challenges, it requires time. It stops the time of those who look at it. At the same time, from my past experiences and my previous life slices, I have developed long-lasting relationships with the places or themes that I photograph. I have not hesitated to work on series or long-term investigative programs for fifteen years.

The importance of the pattern

I often start from the obsession for a motif or a scheme, such as the tree or the window: a photographer does not exist if he does not have obsessions. I realize that a certain number of repetitions, obsessions emanate from my work. It's as if I was always taking the same photograph. I often look for a model, a subject, refined, simple, often abandoned, vacant places, stripped of activities and people, not to erase them, but to suggest them and reinforce their presence by their absence, by silence. Moreover, the lonely motif has something pure and painful about it. The motif alone refers to absence, to silence. The isolated tree in the middle of a landscape represents its model.

The persistent hegemony of the Environment

Due to my training, my culture and my previous practices, I have an obsessive taste for environmental themes. The local consequences of climate change can be local and visible directly in my images, but also global, out of frame. Climate change has become our “here and now”. The disappearance of the natural environment is one of my favorite subjects. In this context, I try to open my images to the grand scale of space and time. Many photographers focus on representing movement. I seek to represent the long term. A praise of slowness, reserve, depth. I try to show all of this in my photographs.