I shoot for myself ! 4

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. I did not have much to say and I am in a state of transition right now. Significant changes are happening right now in my life and I have very little time to devote to my blog. Photo is also a little complicated because I had a lot to manage and I had no time to spend on the street. But you know what ? We touch the goal ! This month of June was very busy. We had to deal with the preparations for the move, the children’s farewell parties, our farewell party and of course the move itself. We are happy to have this behind us … We had to clean the house for future owners. We cleaned it from floor to ceiling. It was our way of saying goodbye to this house where our children were born and where we spent 10 wonderful years. Besides Ronan, our youngest son was very moved when leaving his house.



As I told you, I did not have much time to hang out in the streets of Aix-en-Provence. There is a time for everything … I tried to enjoy all the tiny moments that were within my reach to keep clicking. I even made some T.M.E videos again that I did not have time to edit yet. A series of 3 videos of the same street at 3 times of the day (9am, noon and 5pm). Just to see how the city changed according to the time. This series was made during a single day where I took advantage of my breaks to quickly make some photos (and videos!) In Aix. I had less than 30 mins for each session and I had to work in a hurry, but as often for these videos, the result does not matter. The interest is simply to show you the street through my eyes.



Recently, a friend asked me how many photos I had of the streets of Aix-en-Provence. I did not know what to answer … I told myself that if I had answered “thousands”, I would go for a freak and yet I think we are more in “tens of thousands” … I just evaded saying that I had “a lot”. I preferred to engage in saying that I had quite a few photos of which I was particularly proud. I leaned a few months ago on my work by doing a sort of introspection. Since then, the photos are piling up on my computer and I do not have the time but also the strength to sort all these photos. Moreover, I should update my portfolio and also the slideshow on the front page of my site.



My friend asked me another interesting question: “What am I going to do with all these pictures? “. I found myself a little stupid, because this innocuous question sent me back a few months back where I tried to answer the question “Why Street Photography”. Almost all of my work is confidential. I spent some time on Facebook, Instagram or other sharing platforms, but for several months I’ve been away from social networks. So, why do all these photos if they will not be seen or shared ?



I deleted my Facebook account last November and it’s been 3 months since I did the same with Instagram. These few months away from social networks have appeased me. Just look at my Blogs. I found many topics in the practices that I saw through social networks. Since I am “disconnected”, I do not see these behaviors that bristled me so much the hair. More Blogs so I spent my time bitching to denounce certain practices. These few months away from Social Networks also confirmed that I was doing Street Photography for me and no one else. I do not do this to be known, for glory. The confidentiality in which I indulge is one of the proofs.



Another friend of mine told me that for him the goal was to show his pictures at exhibitions. It is true that it flatters the ego to see his pictures hung in a showroom, but precisely for what reason does one really exhibit ? Is there a message that we want to pass or is especially a question of vanity. Personally I do not really want for the moment and anyway no one offered me to expose. Well it is not quite true … I was offered to exhibit in the library of my village in Jouques, but I did not really want.



I never liked being in the light so much as to say that it is not today the day before that you will see me launching into an exhibition. I still do not feel like I haven’t gone back to the first base. There is a time for everything as I said and it is not the moment. There is something that tempts me nevertheless, it is the self-production of a book devoted to these almost four years spent walking the streets of Aix-en-Provence. This is a chapter that will end in a few months and it will be time to take stock of this period. It’s just an idea that has crossed my mind, but I do not know yet if I’ll finish this project.



For the rest, I almost want to say that it’s like the Blogs that I write. It is primarily for me that I do it. All these reflections I have in my articles are just a way to organize my thoughts about photography and about life in general. For photos, I find satisfaction in the process: walk around the streets. In an increasingly dehumanized and individualistic society, being attentive to what is happening around me, allows me to feel alive and to be part of this world. For a moment, I looked for the extraordinary on the street as if I needed that to prove to everyone that I was doing Street Photography. A little in search of a kind of legitimacy, I wanted to show that I knew how to observe the little details of the street that nobody pays attention to. Bullshit! Street Photography is mundane. Sometimes there is something unusual happening, but 95% of the time, I only photograph mundane things and that’s what I like. I do not photograph to please others, I don’t follow trendy things. It’s stupid to say but I only shoot for myself !



All the photographs were made with the ricoh GR.



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4 thoughts on “I shoot for myself !

  • John Harper

    Not such ‘little’ details in that last shot, difficult to miss! Seriously, it’s the nuances and small details that make or break any photograph. With Street even more important. I find myself taking a lot of meaningless shots, something catches my eye or whatever, unfortunately they rarely translate into much when I look at them on my computer. They certainly wouldn’t be appreciated on Social Media, but those photos mean something to me and so I keep them.
    I think you made a good decision to finish posting on FB & IG, not sure whether you should have deleted your accounts. Although if you’re not posting then what’s the point in having a profile on any of those platforms and not so tempting to return. I’ve said to you before about a Book, you should definitely do one, Aix was a tremendous project, so many wonderful images that need to somehow be seen. I’ve been considering one for Bath, though it would be a very slim book currently. I suppose one could be produced, but the question is: Who will buy it? Obviously it’s partly something to do for ones self, however, we want people to see our images. I thought about offering something as a free digital download, but that isn’t the point and Social Media is already a free digital download. A physical book is what’s required, something tangible, something permanent, something for the reader to regularly return. I’m sure Thames & Hudson or another publisher would be falling over themselves to print and promote a new book from Alex Webb or Sam Abell, how they go about finding new talent such as you I have no idea…’Gatekeepers’ is possibly the answer, but those ‘Gatekeepers’ need to see your work and the only way for that to happen is through Social Media, if you can be seen amongst the 1 Billion images uploaded per day.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I know that I might sound extreme when I say that Street Photography is not about capturing details. What I meant is that for me street is just capturing mundane scenes. I don’t want anymore to magnify what is happening in the streets. This means to have a more documentary approach. But if you look at my last photo of this Blog, one could say that my saying is in contradiction with my work. This particular shot was an impulse one. I just ran into these girls and it was a reflex.
      Making a book cost money and it’s also time consuming. I want to do one but not sure that I will have the patience to work on it correctly. We will see when the Aix Chapter will be close. But I know myself, as soon as another chapter will be opened, I will have hard time sorting my old pictures. I live in the present.

      • John Harper

        Street Photography is mundane for the most part, boring almost and yet it’s always fascinating. You’ve shifted to a more documentary style, I can see that. I wonder if that’ll continue once you’re all set up on Reunion Island. Documentary is probably the best approach, longer lasting images created of life on the Island. The contrasty stuff has a very short shelf life. There’ll possibly be times when the colours or contrasts in a scene overtake the mundane and that will be difficult to resist, but it’s okay to take them, no harm done.
        I was going to sort out a book for Amélie – ‘The first Five years’…then it was going to be ‘Now We are Six’…that was over four years ago! I think it worth persevering with an Aix book, at least sort out the photos, that said they kind of already are on this blog.

        • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

          it’s my mood of today. I don’t know if it will be tomorow’s. What i feel is that I have nothing to prove anymore. I guess that it’s part of my growing up in photography. When I started, I was looking for approval from my peers and I needed to find my voice in photography. I’m not sure that I’ve already found it but I’m on my way. I will continue to make pictures like I do today and if something high contrasted catches my eyes, I will press the trigger. As you said, nothing wrong about it !