A human being, a photographer, an artist, a witness.
How do you define your photography, your art?
As I said, I am a conscious witness of the metamorphosis of the world as we know it.
What’s the essence of the creative output that gets your attention?
I watch television, social networks, I read newspapers, I watch the world and its passengers ... I focus on the metamorphosis of our society, of our humanity... it is my main inspiration.
What are the characteristics of your long-standing collaboration with Caroline Gaudriault?
Yes, she is a very intelligent person. She is a very good writer. We have had an ongoing conversation for a long time about the state of the world and constant changes. She writes books on her side. I shoot my photos from my perspective. We unveil our collaborative work and our worldview in joint exhibitions.
Your photography is breathtaking, mind-boggling, imposing and so much more. What or who do you credit as having the most influence on your artistic visions?
The world around me. I am an artist involved in what is happening in my time. Being an artist is a political and poetic act. An artist is not a designer. An artist is not an apartment decorator. An artist is a witness. His responsibility is very important; he cannot escape his responsibility.
What do you seek after completion of a major project?
Peace and calm. Our world is noisy, turbulent, egocentric. After a huge project, I go to my hometown, I climb to the top of a sand dune in front of the Atlantic Ocean and I see how much of a little man I am...
Can you share with us a story about one your most rewarding artistic experiences? To build a new series is a very long process. We worked for seven years on “The Trilogy of the Modern”, that we exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo for the first time. We produced around 50 huge pictures, 3 books, 5 art-installations, art video and one movie… The most satisfying part is seeing a huge audience queuing for our exhibition and seeing it get attention around the world. Would you agree that most of your work has the tendency to highlight the darkness that resides in mankind, although there’s plenty of dark humor in it, too? Where do you turn to for hope?
Maybe I'm a happy pessimist (ha ha ha)! I want to see the reality of our time, the reality of what my contemporaries are living. I cannot cheat if I want to be precise and fair in my work. I do not want to deny reality. Our modern societies want a perfect world, happy, good without evil. That is not the reality of the world. It is a fiction that the Modern man has invented to live a better life. Finally, what the modern man believes in is a life made better by iPhones, fashion, luxury, race against time ... but that's not reality. If we want to truly enjoy the moment, we have to face the hard times. You see, I'm actually a realistic optimist! You have accumulated a long list of achievements, awards, and acknowledgements by highly respected organizations and entities in France and beyond. How do you react to all that?
It is very motivating to receive awards, medals, etc... It is perfect to shine up one’s ego, but it is not very important because after each project we must forget everything to start over again.
We are only worth as much as our last piece of work is worth and that’s the only sentence that is really motivating!
Every single one of your series is marvelous. But Artists is probably at the top. How did you pick your subjects?
Thank you! As you can see from my work, the portraits of artists that I made are not academic photographic portraits, but an artistic performance that we do together: the photographer and the artist. Each one is more of an artistic performance than a portrait. In fact, I only photograph the artists whom I admire, and with whom I have great friendships: Paul McCarthy, Roy Leichteintein, Bob Rauchenberg, Balthus, Hermann Nitch...