I knew rather early that photography would sometime become more than a hobby for me. As I took time to study political sciences and cinema, I learnt photography by myself. I cut my teeth on personal essays while traveling, under the eye of accomplished photographers I had the opportunity to met.
2012 has been a personal step, with my photojournalism training at the EMI-CFD school in Paris. But –above all- it witnessed the beginning of a new adventure with the item collective and my first press and corporate assignments. At 24, I work now as a freelance photojournalist, based in Paris and Lyon.
For the workshop with Ed Kashi, I chose to work on a local story. I had already spotted this place in the 19th district of Paris, where all ages and origins were gathering around one activity : Body-building. Each to his own motive : feeling better, improving the physical appearance, killing time, recovering from an injury, they push together. There, one say hello, exchange a few words, give advices, or cheer his neighbour. Some come from time to time, most every day since 3 weeks, 4 months, 10 years, and the time spent training is reflecting on these « optimized » bodies. Everyone finds his place, and while families walk past casting a curious glance, here, we push.
Portfolio from the Photojournalisme workshop with Ed Kashi, June 2013.
Written review by
Photoeditor New York Times International, France
This is a very interesting subject, men of different races that get together through sport. You know how to photograph, you generally have a good composition, careful to detail, you are capable to use different depths of fields that in color can be complicated. Just a few things on composition for two specific pictures, picture 4: the men area laying down, so you have time to move and decide your composition: in this case I would have like you to be careful to isolate better the men with the black t-shirt (avoiding the hands of the guy in red coming out of his head) and find a better solution for the guy in the foreground: you only have the back of his head in the frame, and again he overlaps the guy in grey.
In image 12, you are using the two man in the foreground, out of focus, to frame the man in the back who is exercising. the eye of the reader has to go to the man in the background, I would say that you need to be closer to the men in the foreground, leaving less space around them in order to bring the reader's eye to the focus of the photograph.
I like the portraits, they are well shot, well thought, good light, good color, good expressions of the subjects.
Also I really like the photos: where the guy is smoking, the tighter image of the same guy exercising that you shot from above, and this brings me to a few more thoughts: when you build a reportage is very important to have some variety in the pictures that you are putting together, so very well done with the portraits in this sense, but an other possibility you have is to play with different distances and scales with your subject: shoot larger images, but also get tighter, shoot details. You can decide that you are only going to photograph the hands of one guy during an exercise, or only his eyes, show him when he is tired after an exercise. This would help you have a better variety and make you work flow better with less repetition.
You seem to be particularly interested in the guy with the mohawk. an other possibility to build a story like this, or a way to continue the reportage, could be to decide to focus on him a little bit more, let's say asking him if you can meet him at his place and document him getting ready to go to the part the la villette, (putting his shoes on … getting out of his place, arriving at the part etc etc.) This again would help you gain a bit of variety of angles in the reportage and avoid it being only focus on the moment of the training, and might as well provide a good opening photo for you story.
Right now the first image is immediately a tight photo of two people exercising, which it is a bit too soon for me, I would like to have a photo that introduces the subject before that.
An other possible way to continue the story could be to try to focus on the background of these men: who are they, do they all belong to the same social class? do they envelop a relationship with each other, become friends or just meet to do sports together? does sport help create a social context for these people? do they become friends?
The 6th and the last photo of the the reportage could suggest an other possible angle (not sure that exists, but you do have two photos of "public") could be to focus a bit of the "spectators", girlfriends, kids, people that just pass by, that stop to look at these young men doing sports together. again not sure that exists, but if it does, it could be interesting to explore.
I think this is a very good start for a reportage on a very interesting subject, it is generally well shot, and there is a room for very good development. I would definitely like to see more if you continue it.
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