Interview with Philippe Brèson
Born in 1960, Philippe Bréson approached photography at a very young age, developing his own view of the medium and leading an artistic career that structured his work on different levels.
Observing his images we can notice a professional touch, not surprisingly Philippe taught photography for 10 years and this allows him to break the rules and rediscover the art of light deeply, by not just using the camera as a tool, but transforming it in a message box, ready to deliver words and thoughts to the world.
Philippe unbounded himself and his art from imposed techniques and fully dedicated on creating a new language that speak a visual language made of gothic, dark yet Romantical elements, which he uses to communicate his feelings for the world and everythings that surrounds him.
The old techniques are to him the tools for a new reality, a world that can exist only in his pictures and that change meanings by playing with the viewers’ minds, becoming “food for thoughts” and emotions that strike hearts like a thunderbolt.
With new and always different on-going projects Philippe continues his photographic journey. Check out his Instagram profile here, if you want to support his art.
Enjoy the interview.
Hello Philippe, thanks for this interview, tell me something about you and your personality.
I was born 1960. I live and work in Paris. I spent many years in the press as a picture editor, I also worked in the laboratory, and I was a photo reporter. For 10 years, I have been teaching photography, and I have had an artistic career.
When did you meet photography for the first time?
I started very young, at 11, I had my own photo lab.
I noticed a connection between you and the old techniques of the early days of photography. Why did you decide to follow this kind of path?
I have always been looking for a different, unique photograph where the medium (glass or paper) is of great importance. The old processes make it possible to produce unique and very personal images. They are also more valuable.
Do you think that these kinds of techniques are coming back or not?
Yes, there is a real craze for old techniques, but too many photographers use them too academically.
I saw your project called “Natures Mortes”, amazing shots, but I noticed you defined it as “an exercise” like the one painter do. What meaning those pictures are carrying in your opinion, and what are your thoughts about the relationship between nature, death, and photography?
These images are in the register of vanity, of “memento mori” I consider them as breaths, times of meditation in my work. The word “nature morte” in French is the photographic genre called still life in English. It should be understood in the sense of inanimate nature but for me it is above all a meditation on death. Photography is perfect for this. She makes immortal and at the same time she kills everything she sees. This paradoxical aspect sets her apart from all other mediums.
Your “Atelier” shots reminded me of the first experiments made by 19th Century photography and cinema pioneers. What is the story behind this project?
I am fascinated by the photography of the origins and mainly by the first representations of the naked body. The workshop is for me a magical place where we create from scratch another reality.
What do you feel if I say “storytelling”, what kinds of sensations does this word provoke in you?
It is the basis of all artistic creation. Telling a story is giving your own version of things and the world around us. It is also about exchanging, sharing, confronting one’s worlds with those of the spectators.
Your project “Nature” is very enigmatic and mysterious, do you think it can be described as a photo-story?
Yes, I try to tell stories with no beginning and no end. I want to induce in the spectator the beginning of something which can disturb him, seduce him, worry him. The photographs must give food for thought, provoke emotions and reactions.
Now let’s come back to the old techniques. Would you recommend them to a newbie as exercises to better understand what photography is?
I think this is an excellent practice because these techniques allow intervention in all phases of image production. It is ideal for an experimental practice of photography. And experimentation is the basis of knowledge.
Last question. What are your next projects? Can you reveal something?
I still have a lot of projects going on.
A first project falls within the field of experimental photography. Its goal is to produce hybrid, organic and sensitive images / objects of natural landscapes.
It is about using the physical elements available in each environment to make a photograph, which merges the subject and his image by incorporating material collected in-situ into the various printing processes and techniques.
Thank you very much for your time and effort, we truly appreciate it.
Thank you too.