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31 October 2017


On October 25 Vincent walked the red carpet at the opening ceremonies of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival. And I have to admit I don't have a clue why he was there except to be photographed.

Here's a very young Vincent at the Tokyo International Film Festival 25 years ago.

On the occasion of the Lumiere Festival, the House of Books, Pictures and Sound hosted a master class with Vincent on Saturday, October 21. At that time he presented his photography book, "Un Voyage en Russie".

For the next month, the Maison de la Photographie in Lille, France is hosting Vincent's "Identities" exhibition. The gallery opened on October 20 with Vincent in attendance.

View more photos here

Over the past ten days Vincent has given several interviews in regard to his ambition as a photographer. He says that during filming, he always had a camera with him because the photos allowed him to remember the scenes. He says, "I eventually discovered the freedom linked to photography compared to the laborious work as a team and the long course of a film. Photography is a project that can be sated more quickly and in solitude. And as I am rather a loner, it suits me." I definitely do not think of Vincent as a loner but rather as a people person. Is he trying to re-invent himself?

"What interests me with photography is to enter the lives of others. I try to make sure that the presence of the subject exists in the image - to capture a piece of soul."        ...Vincent Perez

He says he was attracted to Russia because "it's a destination where others do not go. It is far from mass tourism. Once there, you have the feeling of discovering things. And I need to think outside the box." The images from Russia were made during four trips he made with writer Olivier Rolin. They include portraits, small crafts, landscapes, roads, cities, industrial sites or festival scenes. The photos are in both color and black and white, showing the country without embellishment. He says, "I took the example of August Sander." He has not finished his project on the Congolese community in Paris. He says, "I do not have enough images yet to make a book." He also mentions other "more ambitious" projects for which he is seeking funding.

15 October 2017

The online cultural magazine, Mowwgli, interviewed Vincent in regard to his "Un Voyage en Russie" exhibition this month at the Gallery Folia. He explained his history with Russia began in his adolescence studying Constantin Stanislavski and Chekhov. He first visited in 1995 when filming "Ligne de vie", directed by Pavel Lounguine. He said, "I stayed three months in Moscow. I met the people in the Chechen mafia on this shoot. In this post Perestroika period, Moscow was divided among a dozen mafias. It was a completely crazy and dangerous period. Since then I return regularly. Many of my films have been released in Russia and I have accompanied them."

When asked how he approached his subjects in his portraits, he explained, "In general, I do not talk much when I photograph. As part of the photos taken for the book, Olivier Rolin was the one who began the discussion. This gave me time to find my frame, the place where the light was most interesting. I sometimes used a flash. I listened and joined the discussion, drawing attention to the photographic moment we were about to share. I'd say a few words in Russian and make a gesture asking them not to express anything. They wondered what that meant. The idea of not expressing anything often causes a fall of masks. The subject finds himself stripped and defenseless. It allows us to see a little further into him. The picture is already taken. But it is not a systematic device. I also like to become invisible and to be forgotten."

He continues, "The Shaman, Solbon Bo, did not want to be photographed. We stayed a good part of the Buryat New Year's Day. He indulged in ritual songs to the rhythm of his tambourine. The host of the house, a bronze sculptor, finally convinced him to be photographed. It was a first time, he said. I was only allowed a limited number of shots. The shaman turns to me after putting on his fur pelts, mask of strips, ribbons, bells, bear claws, and rattling pieces of metal skeleton. I take the picture just before he enters a trance. The shaman, growling, spitting, scolding, roaring, sits on a small stool. His ancestor has just taken possession of him."

Also included in this interview was this "If I were" questionnaire, which Vincent replied to.

If I were a work of art: "The Wrestlers" by sculptor Ousmane Sow
If I were a museum: The MoMA in New York
If I were an artist: Pele
If I were a book: The man who loved dogs (Pandura)
If I were a movie: The Wizard of Oz by Victor Fleming
If I were a piece of music: Mozart's Enchanted Flute
If I were a photo hanging on a wall: The photo of Mohamed Ali that I have in my office
If I were a quote: "Where there is a will, there is a way"
If I were a feeling: Passion
If I were an object: A film camera, medium format
If I were an expo: Irving Penn at the Grand Palais in Paris
If I were a place of inspiration: Space
If I were a brew: Le château la Tour
If I were a Hero / Heroine: A Heroine
If I were a garment: A hat

And to my surprise, this magazine also included this darling photo of a young Perez putting on a puppet show.



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