All About Photo Awards 2019

Gabrielle Duplantier

French Photographer | Born: 1978

Gabrielle Duplantier studied painting and art history at the university of Bordeaux in France. Photography was a hobby on the side. After her university studies, she decided to dedicate herself to photography and she went to Paris where she worked as an assistant for several photographers. In 2002, she felt the need to come back home. Inspired by the rich and enigmatic Basque country, she started a series of photographs where landscapes, animals or humans are revealed as impressionist visions, this body of work contains some of her best images. She pursues her work on portraits of women, one of her favorite subjects, and on Portugal where she travels regularly.

Gabrielle’s photographic world seems voluntarily detached from all temporal or social reality. So her subjects or not really thematic, she is seeking beautiful images that exist outside of any context, on their own. She has already published 3 books, works with press, edition, she collabore with musicians, writers. Her work is also regularly exhibited. In 2012, Gabrielle Duplantier appears in MONO, edited by Gomma books, monography of the best contemporary black and white photographers along with artists such as Michael Ackerman, Trent Parke, Anders Petersen, or Roger Ballen...

FNAC’s Collection and privates Collections.
Finalist Grand Concours Agfa 2003.
Coup de Cœur Bourse du Talent Portrait, Photographie.com 2005.
Finalist Parole photographique, Actuphoto 2008.
Published in Photos Nouvelles, Shots Magazine, Gente di fotografia, Le Festin, Pays basque magazine, Geokompakt, Philosophy magazine...


Interview with Gabrielle Duplantier

All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?
Gabrielle Duplantier: After being so long someone who takes (lots of) pictures, it took a while for me to consider myself a photographer. I worked on my own exploring certain subjects just for my personal pleasure. Then one day I felt like showing my work, I participated in a few photography contests. For my first personal exhibition in the Basque Country, I didn’t expect anyone to buy my pictures but I ended up selling around twenty. It was sort of a turning point.

AAP: Where did you study photography?
GD: I never studied photography. I studied Art History and practiced Fine Arts at the University of Bordeaux. On the side, I started taking pictures with a second-hand camera. Someone lent me a book with the first black and white photographs at turn of the century, I was fascinated; there I found the source of inspiration for my own work. At home we had a dark room, my father showed me the basics of development. I spent most of my free time experimenting, searching... I learned practically everything by myself, with my imagination, my profound ignorance and yet with this powerful desire to achieve something that would satisfy me.

AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?
GD: In general, I admire people who aren‘t afraid of anything, who persist on their path without losing faith. There are many people around me who have these qualities, who give me strength and courage.

AAP: How long have you been a photographer?
GD: Almost ten years

AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
GD: No, but what I do know is that I liked to do close-ups of people unaware of my presence.

AAP: What or who inspires you?
GD: My inspiration comes from simple things and often from my daily life. I have always liked photographing women, children, nature around me, interesting indoor scenes and of course light that can transfigure even a wall. But I think that inspiration remains a mystery. I don’t know why certain things touch me. Anyway the subjects are just pretexts to explore my own emotional world, not reality. My pictures don’t tell any precise story, they are open fictions.

AAP: How could you describe your style?
GD: Often unreal, somewhat dark, untechnical, sometimes even accidental.

AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?
GD: Impossible to choose one in particular. Recently I participated in 'Temps Zero project' (photo-projections and live music) with photographers from different countries, I saw there some breathtaking works, incredible photos.

AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?
GD: I use for my personal work old Nikon film cameras, black and white film; I also have a digital camera for certain commissions or specific work. I have very rudimentary gear. I’ve never been much interested in technique. I don’t think I want to know too much.

AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?
GD: Of course. The choice of the images and the special attention I give to each one is essential. This reflection is as important as the shooting. In those moments, the feel of an image can be revealed.

AAP: What are your projects?
GD: This year I have a few exhibit projects, some commissions, my personal work to develop more and more. Find new subjects. Since my last book 'Les enfants d'ici', I want to make others.

AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?
GD: Two photographers influenced me from the start: Julia Margaret Cameron and Michael Ackerman.

AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?
Avoid looking too much at other people’s photographs. Take a lot of time alone to work.

AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?
I don’t know... I make many mistakes and learn from them constantly.

AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share?
GD: "I think that great art is the art of the right distance. Too close one burns, too far one freezes; one needs to learn to find the right position and maintain it.", a sentence I like from Christian Bobin

AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?
GD: Just all those moments where I had an incredible sensation of lightness, a thrill I feel that makes me forget everything else, totally absorbed by a scene I’m shooting, a state of grace.

AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?
GD: Moments when I felt inhibited for some reason and lost my creative freedom.

AAP: The compliment that touched you most?
GD: During projections of my photos accompanied by music, I have seen people cry. Music accentuates the emotional impact. Even so, tears are a compliment.

AAP:If you were someone else who would it be?
GD: A healer.

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La mer console de toutes les laideurs
Author: Gabrielle Duplantier, Marie Darrieussecq
Publisher: CAIRN
 
Volta
Author: Gabrielle Duplantier
Publisher: La Main Donne
Volta, in Portuguese, can mean all at once and among other things around, return, stroll, ride, but also change. The photographs by Gabrielle Duplantier seem to echo this word : roaming and erratic, crossed by intriguing figures, delicately anchored between reality and fiction. These wanderings always bring her back to homelands and loved ones, and her pictures, bathed both in twilight and sunlight, are so many enigmas that link people and places.
 
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