Paris - BHV Observatory

June 21 to August 25, 2012

This exhibition was guided by Vincent's friend, Auguste Chantrel, who taught him to divert his eye from architecture "frozen" in Paris to catching a glance of the ephemeral and the immutable. His photographs will transform the observatory rotunda where images will appear as fragments of memory.





What does photography mean to you?

Testimony, infinity and also a fixed time; therefore, a contradiction. It allows me to live as a little fellow artist... I need to express myself in another way. The photograph is expressive of the frustrated painter in me. It makes the heart beat. I've always been in love with photography. I love the photography of another era which reflects a time. I am fascinated by old photos.

Is there a photographer in particular who inspired you?

Many! Irving Penn is my absolute master because he managed to go into fashion, and yet in fine art photography. I love Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, witnesses of their time. There are so many great photographers. I love the portrait. I had the chance to meet Newton, and through my work, I was able to address some photographers like Patrick Zachmann, a Magnum photographer, who came onto the set of a Russian film. Bruce Weber is another.

Why photography as you approach 50? Is this a midlife crisis or a sign of maturity?

This is perhaps the midlife crisis! (laughter)  No, I think it's maturity, the decision in my life to devote time to this little artist in me. Also it was time to put my photos in some order. I have taken pictures for a long time, and each time I saw them, it made me sick at heart that I did nothing with them. It took me almost a year to put them into order.

Usually I do portraits. My desire isn't to take pictures for magazines. I need to be free and, therefore, what interests me is to make proposals. My first show was in Russia last year as far as possible, because I was a little afraid to show my photos in Paris. In a museum, I exposed some sixty portraits of artists in black and white.

Then I was offered this place, the BHV Observatory, for a new exhibition. My first idea was to make a "Paris vu par" but this topic was a little scary... I wanted to follow in the footsteps of those great masters of photography. Then I spoke with Auguste Chantrel, an architecture student. I asked him to give me a hand, to identify the theme a little better that wanted to use in Paris.

With some architectural elements that I photographed, one wonders what they are today, but they release something, an emotion that touches me deeply. I came into "accidental art", a little world in the streets of Paris, which moved me deeply... Some of my images are closer to a painting. I grew up wanting to become a painter, so perhaps it's the painter in me that dreamed to speak! I also play with textures, the idea of relief. I'd like to experience this in other cities - New York, for example. I have found it fun to move toward the abstract. I love playing with prospects, with light colors. Through this, I discovered the digital world, which made me want to go in that direction.

For this exhibition, did you use digital or film?

Digital, the 6x6. I love the loins, the polarity. I love the silver. Most of my appliances are silver. For these pictures, I had to rent equipment.

The name of your show is "Material and Sentiments". Could this be the title of a film?

An art film then!

If you had to choose between being an actor or photographer, what would you choose?

Today, I cannot choose. It's as if you asked me if I'm German or Spanish. The two complement each other, as the job of director helps me do the scene with my images. I cannot be an actor without being a director. Today, photography is enmeshed in directing. There is the still image, but there is even a look staged in the eye. My director's eye plays on my photographer's eye, and vice versa. It really is the staging in a large exhibition project. With my first movie, I framed it virtually from beginning to end.

What is your favorite photograph and why?

(The one featured below) There really is a sense of relief, and how the cohabitation between the stone and the plant is made and how these two elements support each other and live together. It's very interesting. There is something that really speaks to me. Also in the texture of this picture... The paint... It's almost alive.