May 28, 2018
Aline and Thomas are a Swiss-French photo duo who work around the idea of disappearance and the temporality of things. In their images we can find a brilliant sense of composition combined with rhythm, movement and the inherent imperfections of analogue photography, which results in fabulous narratives that envelop our senses and are far from being just static images.
Following we present an interview that we had with them:
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
A&T - We live and work in Paris. Aline is from Switzerland and I’m French. Photographers and directors, we split our time between commissioned work (portraits for the press, photography and art direction for fashion) and developing our personal work. Published by STEIDL in 2009, "Dust Book" was our first book. Between 2013 and 2015, we self-published "Hong Kong Blues", "Trop Loin du Centre" and "As Time Goes By". Our "Abstrakt Zermatt" project was exhibited in Switzerland in 2012 at the Galerie Jörg Brockmann, Geneva and in Zermatt, as well as during "Vacatio 2013" at MACRO, in Rome. It was recently exhibited at Galerie Vu’ in Paris. The book version was published by STEIDL in October 2017. We have two books work in progress with Steidl, “White isle of the south seas” and “The devil walks with us”.
am - How did you start in photography?
A&T - Together! Photography is a couple’s act. This raises the most prosaic of questions - who presses the button to take the picture? - And essential inquiries about the nature of photographic conception: the enigmatic process of capturing and selecting images. Instead of addressing the question: “Why is this image mine? Why would I recognize it as one would recognize its own child then give it a name?” We’ve chosen to ask ourselves a different question: "Why is this image ours?"
am - What inspires your work?
A&T - Disappearance is a recurring theme in many of our works. Disappearance of the pictures/medium (in “Abstrakt Zermatt”) or disappearance of our topic itself in “White isles of the south sea”. In 2015, we went to Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati (South Pacific) which is the stage for a drama that concerns us all: global warming is making the waters rise and the country sink. Our project was to capture a part of humanity on the path to extinction, by respectfully looking at this final inhabitation, carefully covering it, fault lines and all. “White isles of the south sea” will be publish by Steidl next year and the pictures have been exhibited at Galerie Vu’ in February.
am - What is "Hong Kong Blues" about?
A&T - It’s a walk in the city inspired by a Hoagy Carmichael’s song “Hong Kong Blues”.
am - How would you describe your visual language?
A&T - We use Polaroid cameras from the 50s and built two apparatuses with 4X5 pliable chambers or our Voigtlander 6x7. Through our eyes, not only are they lightweight but they are perfectly imperfect. Each camera reacts differently to its frame, light enters from folds, burnt into the film. Over or under exposition creates “phantoms” or chromatic distortions, which we particularly like.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
A&T - Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Robert Frank, Robert Adams, Issey Suda…
am - What’s your favourite movie?
A&T - "Grey Garden" by Maysles brothers and "L’âme Soeur (Höhenfeuer)" by Fredi Murer (a great Swiss Director).
am - What is your favourite photo book?
A&T - Impossible to select only one book! Let’s say : Jun Morinaga “Its river of shadows”, Kikuji Kawada “The Map”, Robert Adams “Summer Night Walking & The place we live in” and Robert Frank “The lines of my hand”.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
A&T - Thank you, Daniel, you do an amazing work with your website.