by Bernard Faucon
Bernard Faucon (Born 1950, France).
Photography started with a small Semflex box camera, the fruit of a fantastic swap carried out by my grandmother!
I loved the constantly changing images in the view-finder, which I could leave to move freely until I finally fixed the outline for the definitive photograph.
...At this time I photographed reality, the metaphysical immobility of the real world. The silhouette of a mountain in the night, the outline of a house with the back-drop of a magnificent blue sky, a flag on it’s pole, the filament of an electric light bulb, I was looking for the ‘buzz’ of discovering the ‘what is it’ in terms of an image. I lived as best I could with the flagrant contradiction between the enormous pleasure of photography and my own low level of esteem for photography when I compared it to painting...
It is like this that Bernard Faucon describes his relationship with photography, which is perhaps not by chance as he has never been trained in the art of photography. His approach to photography is therefore influenced by his love for literature and painting.
His 1975 series of photographs focusing on adolescent models photographed in children’s scenes really developed his notoriety, this after his studies in Philosophy at the University of Sorbonne (Paris, France).
His photographs focused on themes close to the environment from 1975 to 1996, and he mixed different artistic techniques to ensure a unique look to his works.
The subjects of his works are extremely varied and this made the work voyager as much of interest to lovers of photography as to artists of this period: Les Grandes Vacances (the long holidays), Évolution probable du Temps (The probable evolution of time), Les Chambres d’Amour (The bedrooms of love), Les Chambres d’or (The bedrooms of gold), Les Idoles et Les Sacrifices (The idols and the sacrifices) , Les Écritures (The writings), La Fin de l’image (The end of the image).
In the series Les Grandes Vacances (1981), the artists develops close to reality staged scenes in his own country house using child models: the evening of a birthday, the playing of board games, an afternoon nap, etc.
Bernard Faucon also re-constructed his own childhood memories in the unique countryside of the Luberon (France), in the property that his parents had transformed during the summer, into a children’s house of marvels.
This theme continued in l’Evolution probable du temps where Bernard Faucon transforms the normal surroundings of a photographic studio, by using natural elements such as fire. Reality becomes fiction and his photographs are transformed into large format prints, with the image shown in a frontal view, which gives the impression of some form of some autonomous object.
In the 80’s, he ignored the fact that Cindy Sherman and Sandy Skoglund in the United States or Boyd Webb in the UK, amongst others are attempting the same sort of style to achieve similar shots, to become the leader of this style in France.
Through-out these years, Bernard Faucon continues to combine natural and artificial lighting and always photographing in color. He experiments with cibachrome(1), and shooting using Fresson(2) with the goal of perfecting his resulting pictures. Until his last series La Fin de l’image (a title that signifies the end of this period of staged pictures), Faucon advances his technique, but also his theory and style of photography. He becomes capable of linking poetry with his images by using his own text and original ideas.
Thanks to these experiments and his own elaborate research, the hour had come for Bernard Faucon’s fame.
Since 1977 his pictures have featured in some 300 exhibitions, principally in Western Europe, the United States, Japan and Korea (notably with Leo Castelli in New York, Agathe Gaillard, Yvon lambert and Vu La Galerie in Paris.
His Parisian studio well reflects his character; both hospitable and poetic. He welcomed us after a trip to Morocco, where he had been to open a new exhibition in this country that he has photographed a lot, and which he appears to know very well.
Bernard Faucon is above all a true adventurer, who never stops using his camera to capture those little everyday occurrences, those small everyday pleasures, all of which makes him such a true lover of his profession.
In this way, he developed between 1997 and 2000 the collection Le plus beau jour de ma jeunesse. At the centre of this project, one hundred young people in a specific country (Brazil, Japan, Cuba, France, Lebanon, Morocco, Mali or Thailand amongst others….), are asked to photograph themselves their own country and their own friends. This allowed each child to experiment with photographic technique and shoot their very own series of pictures.
It was like this that Bernard Faucon transformed himself into the conductor of an orchestra, giving this unique experience to adolescents from the entire world. He explains:
We would leave early some beautiful morning, by bus, in a boat…everyone responsible for his own disposable camera. I do not get involved at all with what shots are taken. With Antonin Potoski, who accompanied me for the most part of these photographic parties, we would run from one group to another, distributing smoke bombs, gold paper, food and drink. I can just imagine the surprise of these young people who see these things given out so freely.
Bernard Faucon is not drawn by cities, that is why he rarely photographs urban spaces.
According to his way of thinking the beauty of natural countryside is never surpassed by anything created by the human imagination.
Elsewhere in the work of Bernard Faucon the equilibrium between imagination and reality in the countryside gives an almost unreal quality.
Before leaving his studio, Bernard Faucon begins to discuss his next voyage to Laos, to prepare a photographic series on this mythical country. FineArtTv proposes that you discover his pictures, his style and his own unique unreal universe.
(1) Shooting using color chrome film.
(2) Shooting using carbon in black and white or in color, invented by a dynasty of French photographers. This produces a subtle velvety feel to the pictures. Bernard Plossu, Dolorés Marat have used this technique often.