Rebirth 4


4 years ago, I started to be interested in Street Photography. Today I consider Street Photography as a way of life and not a photographic style. 4 years ago, that was not the case. It was for me a way of practicing photography without traveling. By staying at home without going to exotic countries. I planned my “Street” sessions by reserving very specific days as we program sessions at the gym. Apart from these sessions, little or no photography. I photographed a lot to please others, to hear that what I was doing was great. I am not ashamed to say it, the satisfaction I obtained through the looks of others.

 

 

Little by little things changed, I took advantage of any moment to take photos. I no longer distinguished between photos of my friends and relatives and what I did on the street. The border began to blur and disappear completely. I started to photograph everything that I found interesting without worrying if it would please or not. Do not think that I remain insensitive to the reactions that people can have on my work. As a photographer, we always have this desire to show what we have done. In fact I would rather share because I consider it to be sharing. Show is a fairly selfish term while sharing suggests that there is an exchange with other photographers.

 

 

Street Photography has therefore become a part of me. It’s a bit like breathing, I don’t see myself stopping and it has become natural as a step. These last months, I had less mental availability to take care of something other than my work and our beginning of installation in Reunion. My habits were disrupted, I had to face a new environment, a lot of stress related to work … There are signs that do not lie. For several months, I cringe when I slept. My mom still doesn’t understand why I’m stressing. So what ? I returned home, I am surrounded by my family. There is no reason to stress!

 

 

On the contrary, I see there all the ingredients to be in this state. I left a rather suburban mundane life in Jouques with a comfortable routine to find myself in loss of bearings in Reunion. Even if our arrival on the island went as well as possible with the help of the family for the accommodation and all that is of the daily management, I am not yet at home in the literal sense as in the sense figuratively. An important first step will be taken with our installation in our future home at the end of February. But it will still take me a while before I feel at home here.

 

 

It’s like Saint-Denis which is now the place where I hang out with my Ricoh on my wrist. The only times I have found myself on the streets, I have not felt comfortable. Lots of different ethnicities and I don’t really know how to photograph them because I’m afraid of their reactions to the photographic act. I ask myself a lot of questions like in 2016 when I started to walk the streets of Aix-en-Provence. It’s pretty funny because even if it’s only been 4 years that I’ve been doing Street Photography, I thought I had gone beyond these questions. I thought I had enough certainty about what I was doing. Presumably this is not the case. I have this impression of rebirth in the street and having to relearn certain things.

 

 

I’m not talking about technique, but how to approach the street. Is it linked to a new environment? I do not think so. During my recent or past trips I have never had this concern. It takes 1 or 2 days to acclimatize to a new place, but I never felt any blockage. It would be easy to conclude that all of this is linked to the changes I mentioned above. I will also look for this explanation but I have no certainty on it …

 

 

When I look at the photos I have taken since I returned, I feel like I have gone back 4 years. Let me explain … In 2016 when I started to photograph the streets of Aix-en-Provence, I was so afraid of the gaze of others that I only photographed while walking without stopping. I was afraid that someone would find me weird. Right now in Reunion, most of the time I do exactly what I did 4 years ago. I no longer bother to stop in the street to compose better. I rush through the streets a bit like a headlong rush. To be honest, I am pretty good at this little game because 4 years of practice have taught me to compose quickly on the fly. I know how to use this technique to perfection, but I prefer to use it when the situations really require it. I was only doing that in the street, hence this impression of regressing …

 

 

It took me over 2 years to feel at home in Aix-en-Provence. It will take time to feel at home here. This week after leaving work before going to pick up the children, I went to spend an hour in Saint-Denis. The weather was overcast with a very flat light that I particularly like. I didn’t have to worry about my positioning relative to the sun. I just walked around town with no specific purpose. I found myself slowing down, taking more time, observing people better. This is the first time I have done this here. I experienced it as a rebirth. Things will continue to be complicated in Saint-Denis photographically speaking for me, but I have already touched on what I had to do to tame this city. I need time and take the time to observe things so that it gets better.

 

 

See you in 2024 to see how things will have evolved!

All the photos were taken with the Ricoh GR during this day of  “rebirth” of January 9th, 2020.

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4 thoughts on “Rebirth

  • John Wilson

    My friend you have started yourself on the road back to being comfortable in your soul, yourfamily,your community, your job just by sharing this post. You will get back to your comfort zone when you realize your life is not all that different from France, except you miss your friends there and you are second guessing yourself. Think of something new to photo, try interesting architecture building features, do that for a month or so exclusively, and getting back to street will be like finding lost pirate booty!

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I guess it takes time to feel at home after moving. I need to accept this and move forward one step after another. Some people would laugh at me. What are you complaining man ? you moved to a lovely island with colourful sceneries everywhere! Yes damn true. But it’s a mindset thing and my mindset is not tuned correctly at this time. May be I also need to feel more comfortable with my street photography to start feeling at home. Who knows?

  • John Harper

    Change of home and job is right up there in the top five causes of Stress rankings. You’ll settle and it’ll be as though someone has flicked on a light switch. Even the ‘Don’t call me Jennifer” woman looks as though she’s feeling sorry for you! That’s a good shot btw, as is the boy leaning against the post and also the two on their bikes. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’ll all come back to you again, only better.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Sorry for the late reply. In the meantime we went to Mauritius Island and was busy trying to save some tourist drowning in the Indian ocean…
      Things need time for the jigsaw pieces to fall in the right place.
      I guess that my main problem is to be able to have some time to walk the streets. When professionally things will improve, I think that I will be able to get more time dedicated to documenting the streets of the island. My break to Mauritius was a good one. And roaming the streets of Port Louis was a relief.
      Best regards John