Beautiful and irritating, Quentin Caffier's images are an exploration of ambiguous and complex feelings. A student at the Louis Lumière school in Paris, he is already the author of multiple series full of hard-hitting symbolism.
For his seventh birthday, Quentin received a Polaroid camera. A short time later, his parents moved, obliging him to leave behind all that he knew. So he began documenting of his universe: his garden, his house, his dog. Upon moving into his new house, he hung the snapshots that he had taken. "For me it was the awareness of the power of photographyto capture". Since then, Quentin has come a long way, his themes changing as well. Although he retains a link with his childhood innocence and games, his research has become more serious and less nostalgic.
With his rectangular shaped glasses, his tattoos and piercings, this 24-year-old photographer resembles the characters he directs. Taken from his environment, the models of the series Pygmalions and Prométhée represent a world visually in the margin. The legend of Pygmalion is told by the poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses. It tells the story of a Cypriot artist who sculptured a woman so beautiful that he fell in love with her. In Quentin's series, Pygmalion is written in plural and relates to enthusiasts of body art. He proposes aesthetic research and its dangers: superficiality and impaired subjectivity.
But these self produced sculptures are no more than portraits. To go beyond mere special effect, Quentin Caffier used various elements relating to identity. He added the names and professions of his models to his photos, making them more accessible to the spectator. Then he brought his very particular care to detail. The objects that accompany the characters are biographical elements arranged without coincidence. Even more subtle are lighting effects used as a means to express an aspect of the character of the person photographed. "In the portrait of Mylooz for example, these highlights symbolized his quick-witted, spirited, sparkling side".
Prométhée, refers to the condemned Titan, sentenced till the end of time to have his liver eaten by an eagle. He is behind the scenes of the previous series and now calls us to the spectacle of pain. Piercing, scarification, insertion of implants, we are spared nothing. Paradoxically, the goal is not that the suffering in the image be echoed by the spectator. Rather, it is an object to be seen. Sublimated, it should be more fascinating than painful.
It serves as an introduction to all that is irritating concerning the work of Quentin. In The lost children, the models are bathed in white as if they are out of a bad dream. They wear the traces of infantine illness, in the grip of the first psychological horrors. The series is a metaphor for the difficulty to be within society. Blindly, they are struggling to find their identity: "the aspirations became particularly conformist. I would say that we value only a single type of existence". Another confusion, another theme: Cacophony proposes deaf images of deafening incomprehension.
Here, a round mouthed woman tries to absorb the words of a young man whose mouth opening is in the shape of a star. There, in a family's triangular identity, a girl tries to exist as a cross. Quentin Caffier asks the question of predetermination, identity and the difficulty to exist within a social group. Always successful and consistent, his series suggest that the future holds beautiful things for his career.