Taking pictures of Los Angeles downtown can be a captivating and stimulating experience. This city almost without pedestrians, which even seems infinite from a plane, spreads in a space whose geometry and perspectives allow airy, spacious compositions and dynamic framing.
Due to its geographical position, this megalopolis enjoys a climate and a luminosity that stimulate the imagination and the desire to go further.
Los Angeles Downtown has a great deal to offer to the photographer in search of visual clues, often hidden in a confused and ordinary urban fabric,
To fully enjoy the experience, you must let yourself caught up by the emptiness of its vast spaces, step back from its blocks of buildings erected at right angles, step over its freeways, and sneak between two sky-scrapers, overcome gravity by isolating yourself in one of its glass-and-steel elevators, which silently slide on the exterior walls of the most emblematic luxury hotels of the city.
Taking pictures in Upper Egypt is easy and congenial. The population feels concerned and is still fascinated by the photographic act, which they perceive as friendly and captivating. Setting the sharpness on the ochre-yellow shades of mountain valleys and temples, transposing the bluish hues of the skies, focusing the deep tones of the Nile, fixing the luxuriant vegetation, simplify and refine my perception. Thus, the intrinsic qualities of its inhabitants in their daily environment - exuberance, joy, energy and enthusiasm can be mirrored in a contrasted and extended range of greys.
To the Muse …
Adorned with a radiant smile,
Enhanced with sweet amber eyes,
Which arouse the fancy to cruise the Nile,
Where the gods still ride high...
Making close-up portraits with a short focal length in Upper Egypt is easy. Whatever the age, the populations feel concerned and are still fascinated by the photographic act. They know that the beauty of the natural setting will always be able to showcase them even in the most impromptu and ordinary situations of everyday life.
It is also capturing with the objective the blocks of stone chiselled by anonymous artists; deformed, shaped and mutilated by history. It is also revealing the sharpness of rocks and remains of Pharaonic matter. The natural erosion of millennial stones, the engraved, eternal and dumb symbols associated with death, the afterlife, or the transfigured night.
Luxor West Bank
Strolling through this valley, both luxuriant and barren, allows the traveller to encounter the remains of lost civilizations and a rural population whose simple and traditional way of life stimulates curiosity and foster photographic discovery.
Far away from the tumult and dust of the other side, random encounters with the inhabitants allow portraits that can be made in a protected and more relaxed environment.
Seen from the other bank, the mountains of the Theban necropolis suggest to the traveller that the access to these very special places, requires patience and determination that can be put to the test as the heat invades the plain and plunges the villages into a lasting torpor that will not vanish until night falls.
Taking pictures of Folegandros comes down to making compositions that capture in a wide range of shades the pure whiteness of dwellings, churches and monasteries built along peaceful and narrow alleys.
At first sight, its topography, the scorching sun, and a growing feeling of solitude may discourage the boldest traveller.
Yet, its small size stimulates the search of visual clues that under the effects of light and perspective may become great shots within accurate and dynamic compositions.
Thus, matter, shapes and rock textures captured in their pristine state seem to be even more real and authentic.
Travelling through south Morocco in summer is a memorable experience. Its scents, varied landscapes, and climatic contrasts between a green valley and desert plateaus provide the photographer with visual clues and challenging opportunities. Thus, one can focus on a winding road that fades away in a hazy horizon light. Fit into tight shots the architecture and geometric refinements of a patio. Associate the juxtapositions of shadow and light to obtain abstract compositions. Capture street scenes where games are played out between groups of children who come across residents determine to pursue their daily routine by taking the narrow and mysterious alleys of a medina.
In the middle of winter, Istanbul can offer the visitor the opportunity to photograph two radically different cities. One, which spreads in the greyness of a modern urban fabric, The other, covered with an ephemeral and luminous snowpack that stylizes the forms and conceals, for a few days, the precariousness and destitution of certain neighbourhoods.
The photographer in search of inspiration can easily be guided by many visual clues. Screaming mobile fish merchants overshadowed by swift and agile porters. Groups of children absorbed by their games in a courtyard.
Old men, head bowed and resigned who painfully climb steep empty streets to reach areas, partly hidden by linen hanging from long ropes reminding the visitor that residents still live there.
The search for a place in the sun on the beaches of the English Riviera by vacationers was for me the starting point of creative photographic compositions.
By placing in the viewfinder couples of all ages, absorbed by their embraces that plunge them into a timeless reality and isolate them from the world.
By focusing on the idle moments of a young blonde-haired teenager who seems to be lost in an abstract and confused emptiness.
By putting in perspective a young couple fascinated by the view of a sailboat that gradually disappears from the horizon on a calm sea of end of afternoon.
By photographing motionless vacationers indulged in restorative outdoors naps that take them into oblivion of themselves and the world.
I fully enjoyed this daily visual feast by simply being there in the right place at the right time.
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© Gilles Pinchon