They never adopted the name for themselves


“They never adopted the name for themselves” is a never-ending series from Stéphane C. He has been working on it for years. It forms an enigmatic piece of work which may be quickly perceived as drifting away from plain documentary. On the contrary it should be approached as a personal quest, expressionist and poetic, where the technique used (analog photography, vibrant imagery, blur, highly contrasted black and white, enhanced grains…) produces pictures close to paintings. Images which suggest more than they show.

Milestones are set aside, times and places not clearly eager to be identified. The combination of pictures slowly brings out something which might be an inner fight, within the very soul. This fight comes from a duality and an ambiguity proposed by the artist as generic and within the essence of all things. Radiating light breaches, ecstatic blows, instants de grâce… All are opposed by dark and wild vibrations, violent and threatening. presences, feelings, depth and energies revealing invisible things to who can learn to see them.

A quasi mystical reality is built up, its borders elusive. Some sort of a parallel world.

Mind arm-wrestling, inherent to human condition, in a world seemingly out of control and even presently perhaps on a slippery slope towards self-destruction. A crisis and lack of balance shown by some of the shots: the giacometian man, bent and falling into a rift, the ruins, the destroyed condo staircase, this other man busy dealing with a slot machine under a poster depicting Earth… Or even this trembling sign: “Coming soon very sad.” Pictures with chaotic structures, tilted or implosive. Pictures which, one by one, propose a world of decaying territories.

Hunched shapes stroll about in these places, drowned in a paradoxical urban loneliness, as if captive of a ferocious system. Serious looking bodies have worn out looks. This is a portraiture of the Alienated Man, under stress, stuck within meanders and balances of power.

In fact the photographer, following the example of his subjects, is in search of soothing. Here the solution can only come from within, from the mind. A mental escape to leave one’s own jail, where the cerebral horizon is materialized by waves of light overrunning the pictures and spurting from their centre. Illumination, yes, bringing peace to faces and flooding landscapes. Shores. Omens. Images. Deep and existential…

One can see a slideshow of the pictures (13 minutes) here: