What does it mean to photograph in the contemporary art scene? How do you position your practice?

I started by experimenting with photography's technical and visual capabilities for fun and games. Later, based on its history and the work of my peers, I wondered what photography could offer in creative expression. I identify myself first of all as a photographer before as an artist. I often say that photography is my hobbyhorse and art is my home. My photographic work is often linked to other art media, such as painting, sculpture, and architecture. I don't intend to use my photography to imitate painting but rather to engage in a dialogue with it to highlight the differences and discrepancies. As good friends, each in their field.

The notion of the 'contemporary' is both simple and complex. I don't answer questions about current concerns but rather observe my everyday environment, which is the source of most of my images. Like Miguel Torga, I believe that "the universal is the local without the walls." What interests me most is the relationship between society and the image, a relationship that is constantly changing, with new and increasingly rapid tools for creation and dissemination. Awareness of their existence does not prevent me from renewing the construction of my images: working with a 20 × 25 camera allows me to invest time, sometimes a lot of time, in an image - the opposite of what is possible with a mobile phone, for example. I'm not giving up on these new tools and modes of communication: I'm confirming and asserting an operational mode for producing images of, let's say, a different kind - this is by no means a nostalgic stubbornness. In reality, the most important thing is not to be a photographer with the dominant tool but to acquire a language (and the more tools we have at our disposal, the more precise the language will become). I don't aim at becoming an outsider but rather at cultivating a singularity and an assertive awareness of the photographer's role, with each image created gaining its autonomy within other aesthetic expressions.

Ange Leccia, Foot explosions, 2016. Fine art print with ultrachrome ink K3 HDR on Museum etching textured paper. © Courtesy Dilecta / photo : Luc Paris

Your work is currently on view at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire as part of Chaumont-Photo-sur-Loire until February 25th, 2024. How did you select your body of work?

The selection of works for the exhibition was relatively straightforward, given that the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire offers themed exhibitions on a single subject: "Nature," the plants. The venue's director, Chantal Colleu-Dumont, quite naturally suggested that I should exhibit my work because of the theme that has always been so present in my images, in five small rooms that run into each other, with a lot of space constraints because they are located in a flat converted into an exhibition space. I'm proposing a sequence that aims to show that the theme, the subject, is merely a pretext. I mean by this that the interest lies not in the question asked but in the answers given. It's a form of juggling that combines black and white, color, large format, small format, etc... Arguments specific to photography.

Molinier rose saumon © Courtesy Dilecta / photo : Nicolas Brasseur

In your opinion, why should you offer art?

To provide pleasure and strength, comfort, even consolation, to bring a vision that will be a kind company with philosophical reflections on the world as a bonus!

Éric Poitevin, Untitled (Mare), 1997 - 2020. Contact print. © E. Poitevin

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