Q : So you were born on Sunday, April 13th ?
A : Exactly. That year, men were going to walk on the moon for the first time and I didn’t want to miss it for the world !
Q : and where did you see them land?!
A : From the parisian region. It was in Nanterre, near La Défense, that I spent my childhood and then my adolescence. My parents lived on the 17th floor of a low-rent building in my early childhood. During my teenage years, we moved to the 23rd floor of a tower that had 38 floors and from which the view was magnificent over Paris and La Défense. But we have to go back to a very vivid memory when I had just celebrated my sixth birthday, during a holiday in the south of France where I discovered for the first time what a starry sky was and, from that age, I knew I would leave Paris to live near the stars… when I grew up!
This has now been done. I chose to live with my little family in Auvergne in 2004 and I am very happy there. I now live 50 km from Clermont-Ferrand, in the beautiful Livradois-Forez Regional Park, at an altitude of 700m in a village that turns off its lights at night for my greatest pleasure as an amateur astronomer. So one of my many dreams came true last year !
Q : and photography in all this when you have lived near such a beautiful city: Paris !
A : Before I bought my first camera, there was this famous Christmas, famous because it remains one of my most beautiful emotions.
Among all the gifts (I was always very spoiled!), there was this little book about heaven and space…. It was a shock and I immediately thought about my vacation in the south when I was six years old ! I knew at that moment that I was a contemplative, a lover of the sky, nature and “beautiful things”. At this moment, however, photography did not prevail…
Q : Then when ?
A : Two years later. I wanted to photograph the sky and that was another revelation…. My parents gave me my first camera, obviously silver at the time, an Olympus OM1, well known to astronomers not so long ago !
And I started photographing landscapes and architecture more than the sky.
There were still early warning signs a little before ! Like these two trips to the Gallo-Roman France and…
Q : … And ?!
A : Rome, Roma ! Que bella citta !
It was a magical journey at the age of fourteen…. with a small Instamatic 126 Kodak in square format that my parents had religiously lent me. This was again a “Passage”. And I have already sensed two obvious things : photography and already an interest in different formats…
Q : Here we are !
A : Yes, it is, indeed. I’ve always liked this square format that “doesn’t impose anything!” The horizontality or verticality of the reading is chosen. But very quickly, I became passionate about the panoramic format. This format is natural for me. I feel it instinctively. Don’t ask me how I frame, I don’t know, I just do it instinctively, that’s all ! and that’s regardless of the subject and of course for urban or natural landscapes.
Q :It is true that you lived in the city.
A : I lived in the city all year round and I had the chance to go to the countryside during my holidays, under a dark sky to do astronomy. During the year I photographed mainly Paris and on holiday, the sky and nature. Every time I returned to Paris, I rediscovered this very beautiful city !
|Q : Did you want to be a photographer then ?|
A : Honestly, I didn’t know. Or rather, I wasn’t asking myself the question in those terms. It was a passion… devouring. Enough to keep an honest man busy during his weekends and holidays !
Q : and yet, today… !
A : Yes, I finally managed to realize my dream, a dream that was sleeping… but what a long way to go to reach the conclusion: “No, it’s not possible, not just on weekends ! ” when I was 27 years old and I was about to please my parents, my friends, the society by making “A REAL PROFESSION”… but not me.
While my studies were intended for me to be a teacher or tax controller (yes, you read it right!), all the jobs I was able to do all over France invariably brought me back to photography. It was during this period that I started to build up my photo library of European landscapes and cities and that I got to know this beautiful region of Auvergne and where I decided to settle down to watch my daughter grow up. Internet and the realization of my site allowed me to make my dream possible – no more much perseverance – But this long journey also allowed me to realize how much I loved sharing my knowledge through my two other sites dedicated to the panoramic photography and this one, dedicated to color management and meet new people.
Indeed, I only like being alone during the shooting or writing…
Q : Why and what do you like to photograph ?
A : I can’t explain why or how and sometimes wonder if my answer is of any importance. I don’t see how this one can provide better information than my photographs themselves about how I see the world. I’m happy when I photograph that’s all! Moreover, I feel deeply contemplative, that is, I like to photograph when I feel an emotion in front of an urban, natural landscape or a very beautiful architecture, without “touch-ups”. I feel deeply myself when I photograph, especially during those magical moments when I feel like I’m there at the right time.
Q : Fourteen years after becoming a professional photographer, what are your best memories?
A : Photography is a separate profession. It gives you access to unique places. And it is an understatement to say that these past fourteen years are full of incredible memories, each one more incredible than the next. So I visited the most beautiful hotels and palaces on the planet but I was even more impressed by this day spent at the Castellet circuit to photograph Formula 1 tests very closely as these machines are so unique. In terms of sensations, it was so different from the “usual” automotive experience.
It is obvious that I am also thinking of my visit to the famous “Souterraine” of the Banque de France, where the 2000 tonnes of gold from France are stored in order to carry out a virtual visit in high definition. This is again a unique experience because nothing I have ever visited before has left me with such a “physical” feeling of security. Unbelievable again.
But the greatest moment of my life as a photographer and one of the three most beautiful moments of my life remains the photography of the Chauvet cave. So old and so beautifule.
I am deeply impressed and surely for life by my eight hours spent in this cave, with the scientists, in this absolute masterpiece of humanity.
Q : Finally, which photographers do you like the most ?
A : Certainly the first two names that come to mind are Ansel Adams and François-Xavier Bouchart. My first two favorites ! With a special thought for François-Xavier Bouchart whom I never met but whose widow I was able to meet while writing my book on panoramic photography. I am deeply grateful to her.
Otherwise, there are really many of them. I would like to quote Sudek, Kenna, Salgado, Mac Curry, Sieff, Penn, Tahara, Boubat, Atget, Moon, Koudelka, Catany, Mann, Parke-Harrisson…
Q : Which photographers do you like the least ?
A : Some other ones !