Oct 04, 2021
Cédric is a French photographer and sociologist who enjoys portraying his everyday surroundings and the 'happy manifestations' that he encounters without too much fuss. With a pure and legible style, Cédric's images are emotional abstractions of a daily life. Authentic images touched by small gestures that remind us that life is made of small details.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
CR - Hello to the readers of Analog Magazine. My name is Cédric, I was born in 1973. I am a French hobby photographer. I live on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, at the Loire estuary, on the Côte d'Amour more precisely. I was a fitness instructor for several years, then a teacher-researcher before becoming a gardener. I studied biology, then sports management until I obtained a PhD and a qualification in sociology. But my greatest pride is to have formed a lovely family of three children with my partner and to live together in the place where we grew up.
am - How did you start in photography?
CR - Strangely enough, I started with a specialty: astrophotography. When I was fourteen, my parents bought me a small telescope and very quickly I wanted to take pictures of the moon, planets, nebulae and galaxies as they appeared in magazines. Those were the heroic days of the Kodak Technical Pan 2415, hypersensitive by gas forming! Then I did an internship in a photo lab where I discovered the development and printing of silver prints. I then made a few attempts with my parents' Zenit, an enlarger, Ilford multigrade paper and Kodak HC-110, if I remember correctly.
Later, while hiking, I was inspired by mountain photos. This was an opportunity to test different second-hand cameras with wide-angle lenses, and even fake panoramas with the APS format that was just appearing on the consumer market.
With the advent of digital technology, I turned away from photography for a while, until one day, by chance, while browsing in a bookstore, I came across the book 'Colors' by Saul Leiter. I said to myself: "Incredible! How can we achieve this with photography? I want to try to do the same".
am - What inspires your work?
CR - The drawing! I realise that I place a lot of importance on form and composition. I like legibility, purity, clarity in photography, without going as far as minimalism. As a child, I often drew, copying comic book heroes like Rahan or Gaston Lagaffe, inspired by masters like André Chéret and Franquin. In photography, Henri Cartier Bresson's ability to literally draw on the spot has always impressed me. I find this same quality of drawing in the work of Josef Koudelka, even if the point of view (the wide-angle lens rather than the 50mm lens) and the subject matter (death rather than life) differ and are further away from my cultural universe.
Secondly, it is my immediate environment that feeds my imagination. Living by the sea, I try to capture on film happy manifestations of chance, occurring along the quays, dunes and cliffs. I aspire to a poetry of everyday life, without fuss, without noise, by small touches. In particular, I try to re-transcribe, in the language of analog photography, the emotion aroused, for example, by the fleeting vision of an attitude, a gesture, a motif, a colour. Without trying to develop a point too much, I like to be surprised by what I see, at the moment of the shooting, but also later, when I receive my developed prints, when I have almost forgotten everything: the charm of film!
Finally, my little family is a third great source of inspiration, even if it appears in an anonymous way in order to protect it from a certain visibility on the net. In any case, in the field of plastic arts, we can say that there is talent in our household: with my partner it is in a way our heritage. In return, our offspring helps us to keep that little childhood flame alive.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
CR - My two "SL" as I like to say: Saul Leiter and Sergio Larrain! I love their ability to render, to transcend and even to create an atmosphere, whether in New York, Paris, Valparaiso or London. I love their creative freedom (their madness), in the choice of framing, lights, tones, but also the softness, even tenderness, that emanates from their photography. I particularly appreciate the intimacy and anonymity that run through their work. I like the silence that reigns in them. Finally, this path between street photography and fine art is the one that suits me and that I try to follow.
I also have great admiration for Bernard Plossu. Not only is his work incredibly rich, but the man displays a rare quality: cultured, educational, enthusiastic, generous, humble, altruistic... In his own way, Klavdij Sluban also impresses me with his mastery of his art, his intransigence and his ability to speak so well about photography.
Among the amateurs, I would like to mention the greatest, at least in my eyes: Jacques Henri Lartigue. The childlike joy that emanates from his photography has often re-enchanted me, it has even been a salvation in moments of discouragement. And then, this project, finally accomplished, of documenting his whole life in photographs (even if he wrote his own legend afterwards): simply incredible!
Finally, to be complete, I should add the artists I discovered on the net. "Analog in the Cloud" and Mariano Brizzola, one for black and white, the other for colour, are two huge favourites and sources of daily inspiration. I particularly admire the great quality and coherence of their gallery. The term "work" is not overused to describe their production. So I warmly invite Analog Magazine readers to discover their work on Flickr.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
CR - It's hard to choose! But if I had to keep only one, it would be the first one, the one that really made me want to experiment with photography: Colors, Saul Leiter Musée de l'Elysée, IDPURE, 2011.
Recently, I acquired another little gem that I'm never tire of: Des Oiseaux, Pentti Sammallahti, Xavier Barral, 2018.
am - Thank you very much for your time and contribution to analog magazine.
All images © Cédric Richet