Interview with:
Philippe Remy

Cover of Volume 20

Where are you born and when?

I was born in Verviers (near Liège, Belgium) in 1964.

Where do you live?

I currently live in Namur, in French-speaking Belgium.

When and how do you start your path in photography?

I received my first camera, a Yashica “Minister", on my twelfth birthday. No doubt intrigued by the technique, I quickly made my own pinhole camera and also made my first photograms.

Who were the three photographers that inspired you at the beginning and who are the three ones that inspire you now?
Please add links to the pages where the images are shown.

I was immersed in a world of painters and drawers, which is why my first influences were more pictorial than photographic. As a teenager, I was fascinated by expressionists such as Matisse, Van Gogh or Eduard Munch. But it was Egon Schiele and then Francis Bacon who definitively guided my photographic style. The photographers who remain inexhaustible sources of creativity for me today are Robert Mapplethorpe, Joel-Peter Witkin and Nan Goldin.

Did you go to a school or are you a self-taught?

I started using the photographic medium in an artistic and self-taught way, but I soon had to learn about developing techniques, working in natural light (and especially in rare light), and studio photography, and finally ended up in the Beaux-Arts workshops.

Do you make photography as a living?

I never made a profession out of it, photography being above all a means of artistic expression...

What do you like in photography, what is your motivation?

... A space for creativity, projections, dreams and fantasies. The shared image tells a story, touches and moves; it is a moment captured, a space of individual and collective memory that questions our own temporality since it is a representation of a past in the light of our current experiences.

What do you want to express or arouse in those who watch your images?

I therefore try to practice an expressionist and sometimes provocative photography, my objective being to arouse in the viewer, in the manner of Bacon, an emotional shock that projects him into his own interiority. The important thing is not the subject of the photograph, but the transfer to the viewer of the emotion I felt while making the image.

What are your preferred moment(s) in the creation process?

The preparatory phase is therefore essential as the images I wish to produce are elaborated in the form of mental representations. I draw, I create a context, a possible set, I accessorise, I think about the support, the lights, etc. And I progress slowly, very slowly. And I progress slowly, very slowly, making many attempts.

What equipment and/or techniques do you use?

It is not a matter of brands/lenses, it is mostly about analog/digital, preferred light (natural/flash), how much post-production, etc.

I remain (and will undoubtedly remain) faithful to film photography and medium format. For a few years now, I have been using outdated colour film, the result of which is somewhat altered when developed and accentuates the ephemeral nature of the medium, just like our lives. Digital photography has obviously entered the range of my tools, it opens to other perspectives of creativity and modifies the temporality of creation.

How and why your work as changed since you started?

Antoine d’Agata wrote: “By transgressing the border that usually separates the photographer from his subject, I have become the object of my images, a forced actor of my own scenario.

What do you think about the fact that nowadays photography is mostly enjoyed on the Internet?

The web is a wonderful tool for exchange and communication between artists. It also offers a showcase, a visibility to creation. Unfortunately, the abundance of images and psycho-maniacal scrolling provokes emotional insensitivity. Many of our contemporaries no longer know how to look at an image, how to truly immerse themselves in it. A photograph, like a drawing, a painting or a sculpture, is above all an object and not a projection on a smartphone or computer screen...

Why did you decide to join the nudeartzine project?

... This is why I was seduced by Nudeartzine’s project: to propose a printed photograph, to make the creation an object that one can eventually appropriate, to take the time to look at it, to understand its purpose.

What are your plans in the future?

I will continue with my projects, according to my desires and, as Daido Moriyama so rightly pointed out, “photo after photo, I am getting closer to the truth and reality at the intersection of the fragmentary nature of the world and my own sense of time”.

On what page our readers can find more of your work?

Last updated 14/05/2021 18:05:20

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