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Vasantha Yogananthan November 10, 2014

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Tina, Piémanson, France 2013

Vasantha Yogananthan (b. 1985, France) and lives and works in Paris, France. His work has been exhibited at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, 2012), the Musée Albert-Kahn (Boulogne-Billancourt (2013), and the Maison de l’Image Documentaire (Sète, 2014) among others. In 2013, he was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. His photographs have been published in Le Monde, Geo and the New York Times. He was included in the “Top 30 under Thirty” organized by Magnum Photos. Along with his work as a photographer. Vasantha has co-founded a small publishing house named Chose Commune. His first Piémanson book was selected among the 12 finalists of MACK First Book Award and Best Book of the Year at Kassel PhotoBook Festival.

About the Photograph:

“The series “Piémanson” tells the story of the last wild beach in France. In the photograph you can see bed sheets from the hotel that have been cut to make flags on top of the caravan. Her parents first brought Tina to the beach when she was only one and over the years the place has become a second home for her. Every summer I came to Piémanson, I spent time with Tina and her brother and sister, following them in the hundred of activities children always find on the beach during summertime.”

“I took many portraits of her but I felt none was really conveying a sense of who she was. Maybe it was because I was too close, so I started taking a step back in terms of distance. 2013 was the last summer I took photographs for this project. After five summers living with this community I could no longer take pictures without repeating myself. It was the end of the season and people were starting to dismantle their camps. The atmosphere was heavy as every year campers leave without knowing whether they will be allowed to reinvent their enchanted interlude the following year. Tina was picking up her things on the top of the caravan and I immediately saw the whole scene as a perfect match to convey this feeling of melancholia. I carefully set my tripod, composed the frame and then shouted to ask her to stop moving which she did but not as long as the exposure. You can see her head slightly moving. Tina, like a princess in her kingdom, seems to be protecting Piémanson from her fortress.

Nick Hannes July 21, 2014

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French Mediterranean coast
Saint Tropez, France, 2013

Nick Hannes (b. 1974, Belgium) studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent. After ten years of working as a photojournalist, he decided to concentrate on self-initiated documentary projects on social and political issues. He published two books: Red Journey’, a documentary about the former Soviet Union, and Traditions, a book on party culture in Belgium. His third book The Continuity of Man, will be launched at the end of 2014 at the Museum of Photography in Antwerp. Nick teaches documentary photography at The School of Arts in Ghent. He has exhibited in Foto Museum (Antwerp), Bozar Centre for Fine Arts (Brussels), Flanders Center (Osaka), Breda Photo (Breda) amongst others. He is represented by Cosmos Paris.

About the Photograph:

“A Senegalese migrant is selling sun hats to two Italian twin sisters on the fancy beach of Pampelonne in Saint-Tropez, southern-France. Travelling the Mediterranean coasts I encountered these African street hawkers all over. They go where the tourists go. When it rains, they sell umbrellas and plastic ponchos, when it’s hot, they carry sunglasses and hats along. Its a matter of survival to them. This photograph is part of my series The Continuity of Man, a visual portrait of the Mediterranean region. From early 2010 untill now I have been travelling the Mediteranean coast in twenty countries in Europe, the Middle East and North-Africa. I focused on various contemporary issues such as migration, mass tourism, urbanization and its impact on the natural landscape. I found out that these topics are often linked to each other, as this picture proves.”

“The Mediterranean region regularly hits the headlines. The eurocrisis in Greece, the Arab spring, the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the unverifiable influx of immigrants in Europe, are some other tendencies that determines the region’s zeitgeist. Although The Continuity of Man is not intended to be a journalistic body of work, traces of these evolutions emerge throughout the documentary. In the end this series aims to give a well balanced kaleidoscopic view upon this extremely diverse region, and to put things in perspective. Monaco and Gaza are both situated on the Mediterranean shore. The book‘ will be launched in November 2014, with an exhibition at the Museum of Photography in Antwerp, Belgium.”

Thierry Clech March 27, 2014

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Homage to Jacques Tati. La Defense France 2013

Thierry Clech (b. 1965, France) works exclusively in black and white film. His photographs have been published in Le Figaro, Canal +, La Voix du Nord, Private Magazine (UK) and Photoworks Magazine (UK). He has also published two books in collaboration with the French novelists Philippe Jaenada and Bernard Chambaz. Thierry’s work has been exhibited in France and abroad at the National Library of Belarus, Voix off Arles and Galerie Nadar in Tourcoing, France. He is currently based in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“There was a time when I often photographed the business district of La Defense, near Paris. I’m fascinated by this place – a kind of universal nowhere. The series, in French, is titled Sans Défense. This means both that humans seem weak compared to the huge buildings and that the place is a utopia that exists only in our dreams or nightmares. To complete this series, I went back a few days last summer, wandering between towers and watching executives dressed in dark suits, waiting, at the end of the afternoon, for the time when all employees rush to the metro stations. After a day of shooting I noticed this merry-go-round, and this amazing vision of the wheelchair between the horse and carriage. I do not know if this picture is funny or sad, but I love the confusion with the wheelchair – which brings me moreover to Jacques Tati, who often used this type of gag in his films.”

Virginie Terrasse July 22, 2013

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From the project “Voluptas”. Paris, France 2001

Virgine Terrasse (b. 1976, France) became a  freelance photographer in 2002. She has been published in France by Le Monde, la Croix, Courriers de l’Atlas, L’expansion, Regards and Libération among others. Her documentary emphasis communities (Sikhs of Bobigny, Paris region), countries (Albania), areas of tension (Middle-East, Tibet) where history has been recently changed and stories aren’t well known. Since 2012 she’s working on a project in Greenland. In 2010, her documentary “La Palestine comment ?” was awarded at the Levallois-Epson prize for contemporary photography. In 2011 for the same work she was shortlisted at the HSBC award. Her multimedia and photographic work has been presented in several French and European festivals. Virginie also she leads workshops in photography and  multimedia in Paris.

About the Photograph:

“In 1926, the architect Le Corbusier developed in the Athens charter the idea of separating a city into two parts : “commoditas”, for spaces reserved to vehicles, and “voluptas”, for pedestrians and buildings. This revolutionary concept was put into practice forty years later, in the business district “La Défense”, in western Paris. This example is unique. Even in the United States streets are still left to cars, and the buildings are as high as possible. The pictures in this corpus illustrate life in Europe’s greatest business center where, despite some 140,000 workers present on a daily basis, solitude is everywhere. It is hypnotizing, drawing us into silence and disaffection. For Le Corbusier, To let in sunshine is an architect’s most imperative duty, and a city must be like an immense park. Promised to a radiant outcome, has this architectural concept kept its promise? In this modern village, I am looking for the organization codes to human relations, in an architectural environment that, at first sight, doesn’t facilitate them. This work is a study on people’s daily life, in an overwhelming environment.”

Isabelle Eshraghi May 2, 2013

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Debutantes Ball at Hotel Crillon, Paris 2011

Isabelle Eshraghi (b.1964, Iran) re-discovered her birth place in 1996 when she returned to photograph Isfahan’s women in order to explore a way of life that could have been her own. This work received the 1997 Kodak Critic’s Prize. In 1999 she was awarded the  “Villa Médicis Hors les Murs/AFAA” for her photographic work on “Being twenty in Tehran”. Her work has been published in Libération, Le Monde, Photo Magazine, Le Figaro Magazine, L’Equipe Magazine, Marie-Claire, The Independent Magazine and The New Yorker. Isabelle lives in Paris and is represented by Agence Vu.

About the Photograph:

“Usually I work in the Middle East, on Muslim Women. This time it was really exciting for me to spend one night in the Grand Luxe Bal at the Crillon Hotel in Paris. Charlotte 17 (in the middle of the image) was a perfect subject, cool and natural. Her mother, Rachel Johnson was the writer for The Sunday Times Magazine. This image was taken backstage. I didn’t change anything from the reality. Just had to ask Charlotte to stand up more straight, same as all the teenagers, she was seating with a arched back, even while wearing a princess dress.”

Damien Rayuela April 1, 2013

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Parisian summer festival. France 2011

Damien Rayuela (b.1985, France) graduated with a Master’s  in International Relations and later earned a second degree in Multimedia Creation and Production at ENS Télécom Paristech. He completed a six-month internship at Magnum Photos in Paris, working for and sometimes assisting photographers such as Raymond Depardon, Alex Majoli and Josef Koudelka. It turned out to be a springboard to get his work exhibited and sparked collaborations with Café Babel (in Hungary and Serbia), Nisimasa, Honkytonk Films and PhotoEspaña. Damien is currently based in Phnom Penh where he is the  multimedia project manager for the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center.

About the Photograph:

“Summer really transforms the city of Paris. Every year the city council organizes what is known as Paris Plages. For me, it’s one of the rare moments when French people of all ages and from different backgrounds mix with tourists. One day as I was passing by, there was a ball underway along the Canal Saint Martin. I stumbled upon a crowd of teenagers laughing while watching older people dancing to the songs of their youth.  I spent a while hypnotized by the interaction of the different people. Peculiar meetings like this one, where people from different cultures and backgrounds come together and bond in such a short time. This can only happen thanks to the magic of music and dancing. I was focusing on this couple but my attention got caught by the sight of this elegant woman (on the right), her red lips and her floral dress. At the end of a song, dancers were changing partners yet nobody came to her. The music started playing again and she stayed in the middle of the passionate dancers as if she was immobilized. I tried to capture this moment of solitude.”

Claudine Doury April 9, 2012

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The Angel, France 2007

Claudine Doury (b.1959, France) received the Leica Oscar Barnack award in 1999 and during  the same year  the second prize at World Press Photo. In 2004, she received the Prix Niepce. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibits in France and Europe, most recently at La Galerie Particulière in Paris. Her first monograph, Peuples de Sibérie, was published in 1999. Since then she has published Artek, un été en Crimée (2004), Loulan Beauty (2007) and Sasha (2011). She has taught workshops in Russia, Latvia, Brazil and France. Claudine’s photographs can be found in public and private collections, including the FNAC (Fond National d’Art Contemporain). She is represented by Camera Obscura Gallery and La Galerie Particulière in Paris and is a member of VU agency.

About the Photograph:

“This picture is part of my series called  Sasha. I took it in Burgundy where I was visiting friends with my daughter, taking advantage of holidays to work on my theme. I had been taking pictures of Sasha during a long moment when suddenly Blanche, daughter of my friends, who was watching us, came suddenly into the scenery and without a word just layed on Sasha’s back. She stayed so for quite a while, at the very heart of the game, nested against the elder girl, as if she was feeling in peace this way. The resemblance between Blanche and Sasha at the same age, the pose, all this scene was perfectly depicting the end of childhood, gently flying away. With what appears to me as an angel visitation I had in front of my eyes the incarnation of James Agee’s words – adolescence is a kingdom of fallen or still falling angels, but it is yet a kingdom.”

Ben Roberts March 26, 2011

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Rock Climber, Fontainebleau, France, 2009

Editor’s Note: It’s been busy here at Verve Photo, and I forgot to mention that last week was the third anniversary of the site. So far over 500 photographers from around the world have been featured. Your work is a testimony to how the medium has evolved, and this growing community of incredible photographers is what makes it so exciting. Here’s to another year!

Ben Roberts (b. 1979, United Kingdom) is an independent photographer based in the UK. He studied photography at the Arts University College, Bournemouth. Ben has photographed projects as diverse as youth culture in Scotland, Australian gold mining and Spain’s economic crisis. He’s now working on a new body of work exploring the periphery of London. Ben is represented by Picturetank in Paris, and has had his work published in Le Monde, Regards, The Fader and Newsweek. In 2009 Ben was the recipient of the British Journal of Photography’s Project Assistance Award for his series ‘The Gathering Clouds’ – a contemplative look at the effects of the economic crisis on Spain’s social and physical landscape. In 2010, Ben was named as one of PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.

About the Photograph:

“In April 2009 I took a trip to Paris to visit my agency Picturetank. On a day off from meetings, I took a trip out to the forest at Fontainebleau with a friend. Fontainebleau is a mecca for practitioners of bouldering – a form of rock climbing performed at low level without ropes. I spotted Enzo from a vantage point up high on a cliff. It took me another 20 minutes of wandering amongst the labyrinth of boulders to find him again. I watched him climb with some friends for a while, and then asked if I could take his portrait. I had already found the location where I wanted to make the photograph, a couple of minutes walk from where he had been climbing, and in a quieter part of the woodland. The image is staged to a certain extent. I asked Enzo to remove his shoes and glasses so that the portrait became more elemental. The white on his hands is chalk dust which helps his grip when climbing. For me this small detail is what holds the portrait together and places it in context.” (more…)

Bertrand Meunier February 7, 2011

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My Mother and Father from the series “l’Homme éloigné” 2006

Bertrand Meunier (b. 1965, France) bought his first camera in 1993 and went on an “apprenticeship” for several years in SE Asia and Mexico. Since 1997, he has been photographing contemporary China, intent on showing the reality behind the economic miracle. This work has been awarded by the Leica Oscar Barnack Prize in 2001. His book Le Sang de la Chine, Quand le Silence Tue (The Blood of China, When Silence Kills) published in 2005 with the journalist Pierre Haski, was awarded the International Media Prize and the Joseph Kessel Prize. In addition to his ongoing research project in China, Bertrand has photographed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Argentina, Peru, Syria and Iran.

About the Photograph:

“My father died on April 11, 2009. Three years prior, when I learned about his cancer, I decided to photograph my family with my father as the common thread. I needed to preserve the memory of a face and of the people my father loved; moments of joy, happiness and pain. And certainly I hid behind my camera to avoid confronting the moment when my father, with one last breath, left me to become a man. The tittle of the series is about the feeling that I knew my father was on his path to die. It was necessary for me to keep something of him and the people close to our family. I tried to face this reality which no one is prepared for. Using the camera was a way to prepare myself and be strong enough to face the death of my father.”

Christophe Agou September 17, 2010

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Jean & Babette, France

Christophe Agou (b.1969, France) works in extended series, both in color and black and white.  In 2006 he was chosen as a finalist for both the W. Eugene Smith Award and le Prix de la Photographie de l’Académie des Beaux Arts de Paris in 2008. He received a ‘Mention Spéciale‘ for Le Prix Kodak de la Critique Photographique in 2009. His work has been widely published and exhibited internationally including at the Moma, Le Jeu de Paume, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The National Museum of American History, Les Rencontres D’Arles and The Noorderlicht Fotofestival. His new book, Face au Silence won the 2010 European Publishers Award for Photography will consist of approximately 75 color photographs along with a fiction piece written by acclaimed author John Berger. It will be released this winter.

About the Photograph:

“Emotions have always been the motivating forces throughout my life and my creative process. In the winter of 2002, I began documenting the lives of French family farmers living and working in the Forez region. I have always had a deep affection for this land in which I was born and lived until age 16. I traveled to the lesser-known parts of this bucolic land, where I felt inspired by the silence I found and moved by the authenticity and  charisma of the people I encountered. With time and through a gradual process of building trust and friendship, they accepted my curious eye and allowed me to photograph and film their daily existence. I wanted to go beyond  documenting their labor-intensive lives and present a deeper, more intimate portrait of their nature. This large body of work is to me a meditation on life and death and the silence and solitude that seem ever-present in our lives.”

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James Chance September 15, 2010

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A Chance Encounter. Paris 2008

James Chance (b. 1976, England) is a British photographer currently based in Denver, Colorado. Since earning his Master’s Degree in Photojournalism at Ohio University in 2005, Chance has been working as a freelance photographer in the U.S. and abroad. He is also partners in a multimedia company, Chance Multimedia, that produces photos and videos for NGOs. James is the current recipient of the POYi Emerging Vision Incentive. The award will enable James to continue with his project Living With The Dead: Manila’s North Cemetery, which documents a community living in Manila’s Catholic cemetery. Early images from this project have also been recognized by the Grand Prix CARE du Reportage Humanitaire, the Anthropographia Award for Human Rights Photography and the Every Human Has Rights Media Awards.

About the Photograph:

“We often talk about serendipity in photography—multiple elements falling into place at the perfect time to form a compelling scene for us to capture. These elements can assemble themselves around us, but sometimes we make our own “luck.” I often spend long periods of time in one situation/location as I know the scene is right: The people, the light, the compositional elements etc. However, this particular photo presented itself to me. I was happily walking on the Trocadero toward the Eiffel Tower on chilly, overcast December morning. This was the first time I had visited Paris at this time of year and had never seen the top of the tower hidden in cloud before. It provided for a rather moody atmosphere as the tourists bustled around taking photographs and viewing the scene. As I walked down from the main square I saw the three dark cloaked figures standing on the viewing gallery. Given the dark and cloudy mood, I couldn’t believe my luck. I quietly approached and composed my shot. I probably took three images in the space of as many seconds and moved on. This isn’t the way I generally work. I am usually deeply involved in the story and subjects I am photographing. But when offered an amazing scene as this, of course I wasn’t going to pass it up. Serendipity? “

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Carlos Luján November 9, 2009

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Esplanade des Olympiades. Paris, France 2008

Carlos Luján (b.1975, Spain) studied image and sound and later photography at the school of Arts and Crafts of Valencia, Spain. He is currently  working and publishing in several Spanish (El País Semanal, XL Semanal, GEO, Yo Dona) and International (Il Sole 24h, Newsweek, Marie Claire, Financial Times Magazine, Corrier International, Le Monde…) newspapers and magazines. He has always been interested in working on social themes, that includes several reportage’s. Carlos has received grants and prizes from: The Culture Ministry of Spain, Injuve prize of Photography, Nuevo Talento Fnac de Fotografía 2004 (Spain). He is member of the Spanish photo collective NOPHOTO and lives in Madrid.

About the Photograph:

“The Asian district in Paris is a work on the religious, cultural and daily life of an important and large part of the Parisian population. This community is composed of Chinese, Laotian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese. They are all well integrated into the western dynamics. However it is impossible not to notice their behaviour and their philosophy of life which have strong roots with their origins. They are not willing to forget their origin nor do they want the future generation to forget them.”

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Ilse Frech July 6, 2009

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Henriette, Mantes-La-Jolie, France, 2006

Ilse Frech (b. 1972, Netherlands) graduated from the Royal Academy for Fine Arts, Architecture and Music in The Hague in 1994. Since 1997 she has worked on projects about refugees from Bosnia in the Netherlands, Muslim children of traumatized mothers from Tuzla (Bosnia, 2000), and a series on young Russians infected by HIV (2002, 2005-2007). Ilse was selected in 2003 for the World Press Photo Masterclass. Her awards include:  ‘De Zilveren Camera’ and ‘PAN-L’ in the Netherlands. Her  book “I Am. Paradox Identity” had its premiere at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris in December 2008. It was included in “The Best Photography Books of the Year at Photo Espagna” 2009 and LOOK 3 books exhibits and considered one of the best designed books published in the Netherlands in 2008.

About the Photograph:

“I wanted to see her with my own eyes, this young Muslim woman living in the outskirts of Paris, so different from the media cliches. I wandered through the suburbs, through the Cités, between blocks of flats and high-rise buildings, searching streets from North to South, East to West. And as I did, I felt her presence almost within myself. Her world took on more and more unusual colors. I used a variety of media for this project. From 2005 to 2008, I struck up acquaintances, sometimes difficult, sometimes intense and close, with several dozen young women; then photographed them and followed them in the wider Parisian area. I also made a 50 minute documentary “I Am. My Islam. My France” and created a sound landscape of 40 hours of interviews, which explores the intimate lives of these young women of Northern African, Turkish or African origin.”

Audrey Bardou May 13, 2009

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Brigitte et Bernard

Audrey Bardou (b.1975, France) lives and works in the south of France. Audrey’s approach in photographing other people’s lives, is to explore both the intimate and the personal. Her previous project which began in 2004, documented the end of her grandfather’s life. Then for three years she worked on a project about prostitution called “15 Minutes.” As a result of this work, she was invited to exhibit at the Festival Voix Off and the gallery SFR at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2008. Her work is represented by Camàyeux Marseille and Millennium Images.

About the Photograph:

“I’d like to introduce you to my parents Brigitte and Bernard; exceptional, yet anonymous. They aren’t exceptional in the sense that we hear about them in our society, but in the values that they have infused in me: humanism, integrity and generosity. On the advice of Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey I started to photograph them. Photographing your parents cannot wait till later. He told me. You cannot take your parents for granted. You should photograph them now. You have nothing to lose by trying. My mother and my father don’t understand my interest in photographing them eating, sleeping or simply setting the table. Recently my Father fell ill, old age catching up with him. I love my parents. I love photographing them. My photographs aren’t about social issues. They are a work of love. But isn’t the act of love an underground fight for change?”

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