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Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile

Alain Laboile

Country: France
Birth: 1968

I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a corner of the studio we share. Then came, through a random reading, my fascination for insects. Jean-Henri Fabres's Souvenirs entomologiques will inspire me and accompany me for several years.Plaster and stone slowly fade away to let the rusty iron turn into shaggy insects.On the top of a hill near Bordeaux ,in Gironde, our house fills up with kids.My activity is taking off, and I need to take some photos of my sculptures. That's precisely at that moment, in 2004, that I accidently dive into photography, or more accurately macrophotography, were insects are predominant.Three years later, insects went into hiding under the leaves, my six children are born, and we have left the hill for the stream on the edge of the world. My photo-diary was established without my really noticing, It now seems vital and everlasting.

About "La famille"
I'm a father of six. Through my photographic work I celebrate and document my family life:A life on the edge of the world, where intemporality and the universality of childhood meet. Day to day I create a family album that constitues a legacy that I will pass on to my children.My work reflects our way of life,revolving around their childhood. My photographs will be the testimony of that. In a way my approach can be considered similar to the one of an ethnologist. Though my work is deeply personal, It's also accessible,addressing human nature and allowing the viewer to enter my world and reflect on their own childhoods. Fed everyday and shared with the world via the internet, my photographic production has became a mean of communication, leading to a questionning about freedom, nudity, being and having.

Exclusive Interview with Alain Laboile:

AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
I was working as a sculptor. In 2004 I bought my first camera to photograph my sculptures and my passion for insects drove me to practice macrophotography. After the birth of my last two daughters I raised little by little my lens towards my family. The passion was born and did not leave me any more since 9 years.

AAP: Where did you study photography?
I am totally self-taught. When I began, I had a very limited photographic culture, no technique. I learned by sharing my photos on forums on the web, by receiving critics which allowed me to progress.

AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?
I met the famous American photographer Jock Sturges during the summer 2012. He became a good friend, a kind of spiritual father who accompanies me in my artistic route. I owe him a lot.

AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
I think It was a macrophotography showing a mating of slugs.

AAP: What or who inspires you?
My work is extremely personal because it concerns my family life and our little offbeat lifestyle. I try to be inspired by nobody. It is the spectators of my work, that sometimes establish comparisons. Sally Mann’s work is often mentioned.

AAP: How could you describe your style?
An Internet user compared one day my photographic style with street photography. I think that if indeed I lived in town I would practise street photography. But living in the countryside, I photograph my family in its close environment, on the deep.

AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
I like very much the work of joseph-Philippe Bevillard, His series of portraits of Irish gypsies is fascinating.

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
I worked for a long time with a Canon 5 D Mark III camera and 35 mm f1,4 lens. I now own a Leica M monochrom which I use with a 35 mm f1,4 Leica lens.

AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
I am very selective. I do not hesitate to delete all the photos which do not satisfy me totally.

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
I would say to him that he should not focus on the equipment nor to be intimidated by the lack of technique, all this is secondary. It is necessary to let speak its instinct, accept the criticism.

AAP: What are your projects?
I will publish a book with Steidl Verlag in 2014. An exciting project!

AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
My publication in the NY times in 2012. I had made several interviews before and I made a lot since but that this has a real symbolic value !

AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
In 2009, I had to stop photography for several months. I needed money and I sold my photographic stuff. A nightmare!

AAP: The compliment that touched you most?
One day Jock Sturges let this comment on one of my photos: "It's wonderful images like this that reinforce my realization that you are my favorite living photographer. Amen "

AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?
I am not certain to want to be somebody else but I would have liked to began to practise photography 20 years earlier.

AAP: An anecdote?
I won a big Canon competition. I left exploring the canopy in the rainforest of kakamega in Kenya. I was accompanied by a crew managed by Peter Webber the director of the movie “Girl with a pearl earring” and “Hannibal Lecter”. We ate spaghetti bolognese together in the middle of the jungle. Fabulous memories a little bit crazy!

AAP: Anything else you would like to share?
I published my first book "Waiting for the postman" in november 2012 . My next exhibition will take place in Santa Monica (California) at dnj Gallery from november 2nd ( 2013) to January 4 th( 2014)
 

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Harvey Stein
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Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author and curator based in New York City. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography. Stein is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He was the Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, located in the East Village of Manhattan from 2009 until 2019 when it lost its lease and closed.. He has also been a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, New School University, Drew University, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Bridgeport. A recipient of a Creative Arts Public Service (CAPS) fellowship and numerous artist in residency grants, Stein's eighth and latest book, Mexico Between Life and Death, was published in the fall of 2018 by Kehrer Verlag (Germany). A new book, Then and There: Mardi Gras 1979 will be published by Zatara Press in the Spring of 2020. Other books of Stein's photographs are Parallels: A Look at Twins, E.P. Dutton (1978); Artists Observed, Harry Abrams, Inc. (1986); Coney Island, W.W. Norton, Inc. (1998); Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life, Gangemi Editore, Rome (2006); Coney Island 40 Years, Schiffer Publishing, (2011); Harlem Street Portraits, Schiffer Publishing (2013); and Briefly Seen New York Street Life, Schiffer Publishing (2015). Stein's photographs and portfolios have been published in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Time, Life, Esquire, American Heritage, Smithsonian, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Glamour, GQ Magazine (Mexico), Forbes, Psychology Today, Playboy, Harpers, Connoisseur, Art News, American Artist, New York, People, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, The Hopkins Review (cover), Sun Magazine (cover) and all the major photo magazines, including Camera Arts, Black & White Magazine (cover), Shutterbug, Popular Photography, American Photo, Camera, Afterimage, PDN, Zoom, Rangefinder, Photo Metro, fotoMagazine (Germany), photo technique, Zeke and View Camera. Stein's photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe — 86 one-person and over 165 group shows to date. He has curated 64 exhibits since 2007. His photographs are in more than 57 permanent collections, including the George Eastman Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, the Denver Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), the Portland (Oregon) Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, Museet for Fotokunst (Odense, Denmark), Musee De La Photographie (Charleroi, Belguim), the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, The New York Historical Society and Museum, The Brooklyn Historical Society, and among others, the corporate collections of Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, LaSalle Bank (Chicago), Barclay Bank and Credit Suisse. Stein's work is represented by Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City. Statement What do our photos say? That is an important question that we all wrestle with. I have always wanted to do strong and meaningful images. Not all our photos can be that, some are what I call "throwaways", fun and silly and not too serious. But basically I want to say something through my work. I think the best way to do this is through long term projects shot over time that gives us a deeper understanding of the subject. I love single images and they should also be strong, but I think more meaning comes from in depth studies of a subject, not one or a few photos of the subject. And I always want my images to be a reflection of how I think, behave, believe in. Remember: portraiture becomes self portraiture. As a writer usually reveals herself through her work, so does any artist, and as photographers, we are artists. I wish to convey a sense of life glimpsed, a sense of contingency and ephemerality. In experiencing these glimpses of life, I hope in turn to become more aware and knowing of my own life. I believe photographs speak to us; they are reminders of the past. To look at a family album is to recall a vanished memory or to see old friends materialize before our eyes. In making photographs, the photographer is simultaneously a witness to the moment and a recorder of its demise; this is the camera's power. Photography's magic is its ability to touch, inspire, and to connect to each viewer according to that person's unique sensibility and history. Exclusive Interview with Harvey Stein
Jean-Christophe Béchet
Born in 1964 in Marseille, Jean-Christophe Béchet lives and works in Paris since 1990. Mixing B&W and color, silver and digital prints, 24x36 and medium format, polaroids and photographic 'accidents', Jean-Christophe Béchet seeks the "right tool" for each project, the one that will allow him to obtain a meaningful dialogue between an interpretation of reality and the photographic material. Inheritor of "street photography", whether it be American, French or Japanese, he likes to refer to his photographs as INHABITED LANDSCAPES. His glance on the world is constructed book by book, the area provided by the printed page being his "natural" field of expression. His photographs belong to several private and public collections and they have been showcased in more than sixty exhibitions since 1999, including at the Rencontres d'Arles in 2006 ("Urban Policies" series) and in 2012 ("Accidents" series) and the 'Mois de la Photo' (Month of Photography) in Paris, in 2006, 2008 and 2017. He is also the author of more than 20 books. FRENCHTOWN Project created for the Festival L'Oeil Urbain at Corbeil Essonnes Wedged between several highways and the National Road 7, the City of Corbeil-Essonnes is located 40 km south of Paris. It is the last city in the Paris' belt. As soon as you cross its limits, you are in the middle of nature. Too far from Paris to benefit from its proximity, it's neither in the provinces. This "in-between" gives rise to a feeling of strangeness and uneasiness. In this city, I felt I was in a typical and genuine French city and at the same time in a detective film. I had the impression of being a foreign visitor, an investigator, who was exploring a "French Town" to solve a minor incident. My photos are the result of a year of observation. I worked as a visual writer. Far from hot topics and for a long period of time, I captured the small details of everyday life and built an authentic story. Without forgetting that photography never shows reality, or truth, but an idea of reality. And it's already a lot... JCB
Alex MacLean
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