our favorite photos from hyères
The photography prize at Hyères may grab less attention than its fashion counterpart, but there was some truly remarkable work on display at the Villa Noailles. Here we pick the images that we found most arresting, thought-provoking, mysterious and...
"At the origins of the project, there were stories - stories of sailors, poets or writers - which encapsulated the romance of the sea: Homer, Kavvadias, along with Pessoa, Conrad and the ancient navigators of the Mediterranean. These words became the antechamber of my voyages, and allowed me to travel around the world well before I boarded ship. Doing so was a well thought-out decision, only made after five years of research on land, in the ports of the Mediterranean and Latin America. The project itself demanded that I follow that path: the call of the sea, a kind of night.
Before actually creating, I wanted to wonder, to be conquered. I was interested in women in these ports because these men, these sailors, turn their eyes to them after a long period at sea staring at the horizon. These unknown yet deeply yearned-for bodies have generated a myth - the eroticization of faraway places. To better understand this, I wanted to experience the roaming, solitude and nostalgia of sailors on their long sea voyages."
"Britain's landscape is well known for its post-industrial cities, rolling hills dotted with thatched cottages, farmlands, woodlands, picturesque vistas of lakes and coastlines. I am not looking for what could be recognized as Britain from these places: it is what is in between these idyllic scenes - the places we pass by every day - that captivates me. I am interested in narrative, the story of my unrelated yet connected images is up for interpretation and with each new image this continues. It's an instinctive endeavor, perhaps linked to what lies deep in my memory, seen from the window of a train when I was a child. It's an adventure to me to travel anywhere, walking down the road that I live on could throw me a surprise. I'm fascinated by the exotic or poetic in these everyday places. I am lured back to search further and explore the unknown; I haven't seen what Blackpool looks like yet…"
"Traveller is another name I give to the soul, mind, conscience that exists in all of us. My individual belief system is compatible with the ancient idea of reincarnation. I believe that the soul travels from one incarnation to another. Each human being you see has been numbered in the order they came into existence through my series In Loving Memory Of.
I had been gathering snapshots of dead people on a very intuitive basis. After about a year of collecting, I had the idea of recycling these images by reconstructing the faces of the dead in order to give birth to new beings who may or may not exist. As regards their personalities, they came out of pure intuition. I spent days, sometimes weeks, constructing a human being. I stopped only when I had found a face that I responded to. I suspect I have come in contact with each human being that I have constructed in my series, either in this life or the previous."
"In Purity, I photographed and interviewed young girls and their fathers who participated in Christian Purity Ball ceremonies in the United States, where the girls promise to stay abstinent (from sex) until marriage, while their fathers pledge to protect them in their choices. When I first heard about the Purity Balls, I pictured angry American fathers terrified of anything that could hurt their daughters. But the more I learned, the more I was surprised that I had been so quick to judge people I knew so little about. I was struck by the idea that what set us apart wasn't anything more than how we had been influenced by the culture surrounding us, and I wanted to explore this without presenting any answers or conclusions."
"I see my compositions as colorful paintings of an imaginary world. The result is a mixture of elements from different beliefs. My approach is deliberately syncretic. The imagery you construct seems to have elements of absurdity and playfulness.
My images are independent of each other. I try not to create a narrative between them. I have laid the foundations of an aesthetic approach, with codified sets, costumes and props. Next, I add elements from my sources of inspiration: film, literature, media culture, etc."