Call for Entries - AAP Magazine #8 / Shadows

Alain Laboile

French Photographer | Born: 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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