Zoom: Léo Caillard

@ Léo Caillard “Delete this piece of work ? – Delete / Cancel”

@ Léo Caillard
@ Léo Caillard
@ Léo Caillard

A : Can you please introduce yourself ?
L : I’m a 29 year-old photographer. I live and work in Paris and I graduated from École des Gobelins in photography in 2006. I lived in the United States for 2 years and when I got back to Paris in 2008-09, I started to create my first personal series of photography. I was willing to use the new tools such as photomontage, 3D and photoshop in a creative way and not as a commercial constraint. The purpose is to bring another photographic aesthetics in art where we are allowed to symbolise things, to give a meaning to an image.

A : What is the message you want to convey through this series ?
L : I was often going to the Louvre Museum because I’m a big fan of classic art and history of art in general. I figured out years after years that people were coming with their smartphones to capture the paintings : they basically don’t look at the paintings anymore, they don’t take time to stop and admire. It’s related to time, the fact that time is accelerating, we don’t have time to observe anymore, to paint, we prefer taking 2000 pictures than painting. The accumulation of the digital implies the loss of our observation skills. And I came up with this idea : why not work on our digital habits through the museum as it is clearly time-representative because there are 400 year old paintings and 10 year old ones. Our relation with the image is slower, more constructed, in time and in history.

A : What inspires you ?
L : This is a very difficult question… as to me, creation is inspired by everything : from the news to art exhibitions, through young artists, classic paintings, sculptures, designs, movies… Curiosity and sensibility are keys to have a subjective vision of the world, which means, with our own point of view. And to build it, nothing would be better to get inspired from everything we can so we can reinterpret them.

I show less a lot. When I work on a series, I’m trying to take max 6-10 images but to diffuse them as much as I can. I’m not into diffusing thousands of images, this doesn’t interest me.

A : Could you please explain this choice …
L : As an artist I must be coherent. Every image I’m producing must match with a sense which corresponds to my own aesthetics and to what I’m doing. Moreover “less is more”, people associate aesthetics to a genre, a style, a person. Creating 200 images that I’m gonna be diffusing on internet will possibly make me famous but, anybody will know me for any kind of aesthetics. I’m not on the same quantitative logic of Twitter, they’re looking for the number of tweets, however as an artist I have to use the social medias to diffuse my work quantitatively but my content must be limited. I’m looking for a dynamic visibility with a limited content. Digital is also incredible to unite people from different parts of the world and put them in contact. The drawback is to be constantly present, visible and sometimes to accept to lose control.

A : What do you think of photography nowadays ?
L : This is an incredible media. It is the media of the 20th century. The media of the 21st century would probably be the connected videos, the interactive photography related to the senses or the photos and videos that can evolve depending on people’s collaborative minds. I can really imagine this in 30-40 years : internet will create new types of creation.

A : Is it not killing the real soul of photography ?
L : Photography is extremely democratized : it started as a professional media in the 60s with the photo reporters travelling the world to give information – it wasn’t related to art at this time, it was just a tool for the magazines, the dailies, … – and it became an artistic media in the 80s – 2000s because artists seized this media to make plastic objects in limited edition to give a graphic dimension to their images and since the 2000s it has become a mass media, it’s ubiquitous, millions and trillions of images are produced but the fact that our brains can only remember a few ones, allows this media to continue existing. It’s just that we have to sort everything out. The strong images remain the strong images. We all remember the same images. We are aware of which ones stay and which ones disappear.

A : You obviously wish people to remember some of your images…
L : Yes, this is due to all creatives’ ego. We hope to convey a message, and maybe one day after our death, it will perpetuate in an institution’s museum. That would be a phenomenal chance. I have a permanent emotion when I’m facing a breath taking painting whose author died 400 years ago and knowing that a part of his life is still here. Maybe we’re touching the absolute.
An artist is always a vector of thoughts because he is thinking ahead of his time and unfortunately, people will often perceive his whole message after his death.

A : You’re working on different themes, how can you qualify your work ?
L : If I have to regroup everything in one theme : it would be Time. None of my photos are related to a specific period of time. I’m indeed trying to photograph a landscape, for instance, that we cannot date. Either there’s nobody, no human element or there’s a human element on the contrary but in deconstruction, we don’t know if it’s ruins or constructions. Always changing landscapes or immutable but above all, moments that determine an absolute. A vision, a concept, an expression. I’m trying to mix elements of present with the ancient, or ancient elements with the present. I’m therefore using the photo montage to confront two eras. Cultural, visual, societal shocks. In order to question not to shock. And a shock with a point of second degree, of humour to convey strong messages with a certain aesthetics and a pleasant rendering. Why not fun, I’m not afraid of this notion.

A : A final word ? a quote ?
L : I forgot the name of the person but I recently read an article in a British art magazine, it was about the fog which, in the conceptual language, can correspond to the fact of being lost. It was about an artist explaining that ‘seeing in a new way, is being in a fog’. It’s having a blurred vision and we often turn away because we’re afraid. When we have to create new things, things that haven’t been made before, we feel lost because we don’t have any point of reference, nevertheless it is the only way to reach a real creation, a subjective, personal and independent creation : it’s accepting the fog. To conclude, even if it’s repulsive, the way of the creative is to jump body and lost heart in the fog and the way will make its road.

Thanks to Léo Caillard
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