If we talk about travel & personal projects it’s hard for us not to mention Sylvain Bouzat, although he is working a commercial photographer his work on travel and portrait is quite impressive by itself!
In this Few Frames we try to gasp a bit what he saw and felt during this trip around Himalayas, the people he met and the conversations he might have had with them. You can clearly see through the images that he has engaged with every single subject, event if it follows a journalistic style there is a sort of complicty in between the lens and the eyes of the person photographed. The images are rich and full of texture, one of the reasons it’s how close he is to what he is photographing, in fact, after scrolling through the whole post there is a strange feeling of familiarity almost like you’ve been there yourself, and even imagine how it must have smelled.
We believe this is simply because Sylvain didn’t put any distance between him and his surroundings, even with a medium format camera that sometimes can slow you down and make you very noticable he managed to get in the scene. And when you see images like these, you can only wonder how it is posible to snap a guy preparing his dinner with live fire while at the same time a monkey runs on the back carring his baby on the shoulders. It really make you wonder if film photography is actualy “slow”.
Being slow or not, we hope you prepare your favourite hot beverage and sit down to enjoy slowly this frames 🙂
In his words:
“In November 2018, I left to Bhutan, Nepal and New Delhi for a month. I took with me my medium film camera 645 and more than 3 kg of film stock (Kodak Portra 400 and Koda Portra 800) and I took so many photographs that I had to order Kodak Portra 160 photo film in Carmencita to finish my trip in New Delhi ! (the Portra 400 film was out of stock).
When I travel, I try to be very close to the inhabitants and to connect with them. I like to shoot in a documentary format placing the human being at the centre of my photography, varying between photographs in the street and portraits. In my view, there are so much more to learn by being close to a country’s inhabitants rather than travelling from a monument to a beautiful landscape or from a touristic place to a beautiful beach. Discovering cultures, ways of life and meeting people convey meaning to my film photography work.
This results in powerful, sincere and very interesting human interactions that go often further than simple photographs in the street.
Being close to people and continually in the street, I am forced to get out of my comfort zone and forced to accept to be in an unfamiliar environment: I don’t know the people, their reactions, the reaction of people around us and all the street life that goes on in background.
In New Delhi, I spent long days alone in the street from 6 a.m. to the nightfall. I had the opportunity to document in a very lively way the incredible agitation of this city’s chaos. The difficulty is to be able to capture and to organise this chaos for each photograph, you need to be very reactive and to anticipate with a quick glance what’s going on so you can place yourself, measure the lights and capture the moment.
I seek purposely this difficulty because I know that the resulting photographs will be humanly powerful and very meaningful. I try to keep a documentary approachin the street, whereas usually, with film photography, it is recommended to use very composed, well thought out and static photographs, in an environment that is mastered (lights, background, people’s positioning).
In my view, shooting film forces you to remain very aware of what’s going on around you. You need to stay really focused on the lights, on the people and on your photographic intention because each photograph is precious and unique. I have rediscovered travelling through film photography as I was even more living the present moment and being receptive to all sensations and relations surrounding me.”
– Sylvain Bouzat
We’ve been lucky to be working with Sylvain for a while now and this is one of the cases in which comunication is key! Sylvain send us both his paid work and also his personal work, the subjects of which differ a lot and so the look of the images too. Going a bit back and forth with Sylvain, even if he lives in another side of Europe, we were able to get exactly what he had in mind for this work.
Everything was scanned on the Frontier, you can see the strong contrast and specially with darker skin tones how it renders the textures of and colors in a magnificent way. We are inspiried in the look of classic color photography, specially that done in India from photographers such as Steve Mcurry. Obviously we don’t mimic his look for many obvious reasons but we got inspired in the color palete and the contrasts we’ve seen while adding our contemporary style and luminosity to it. Hope you judge the results by yourself!