Mathieu L'Heureux Roy
*Excerpt from the documentary "Bien plus qu'un métier" by Duane Cabot.(in french)
If we try to take a step back from the frantic way of life in which we live in, we will find that, like many philosophers, we are, or at least very close to the apogee of individualism. In a world dominated by the “I” or the “You”, my photography is part of the “Us”. I am actually the sum of all of us.
How did we get there? Where are we going? Why build while destroying? Why leave everything rot to the ground?
When we question the rationality of the human being, we realize that this rationality is malleable. The adaptability of human beings is greater than their intelligence. Humans don't need more intelligence, they need more wisdom.
By being part of the "Us", our history, our collective feelings, I invite the spectator to question himself on different aspects of his own life shared by each of us.
It is important for me to be devoid of aesthetics.
There comes a time when simplicity becomes more complex. I like simple things, when we manage to strip the eye of the superfluous, a certain intrinsic banality is revealed. This banality shared by all becomes after a certain number of years the expression of the lived social vector. Photography being anchored in the human and/or vice versa.
The photographic act becomes or is simply a process that gives a dimension to reality. In this sense, the photographic act has no literature unlike painting, music, drawing, sculpture, theater, etc. Photographic literature very quickly refers us to sociological, psychological, historical, those elements that inhabit us. It refers to “Us”, of course we can drink, submerge ourselves with “I” like the current trend, it remains an expression of the “Us”.
I was lucky to grow up with a camera, when I was young I was happy to capture certain moments. After a while, I realized the potential of this medium, not only could I catch major events and human expressions, but I could literally paint with light as well.
I studied photography in Canada and Australia where I met great teachers. Through my work and my travels, I have met many photographers, some more famous than others but most of them have one thing in common; they have a duty to archive, the duty to remember.
Invited by the Banff Art Center to make prints in 2001, I have not stopped working in photography since; Chief photographer for ACP Media in New Zealand, Founding member of AC-Press in 2003 and president until its dissolution in 2011. Freelance photographer and laboratory technician, professional printer, in short 20 years of work in photography.
The style develops over time, no painter or photographer is born with a style, the style crystallizes with experimentation and experience. Far, real far, to compare myself to Adams (Ansel), Dombrovskis (Peter), Szilasi (Gabor), Depardon (Raymond), and the list is long but I tend to appreciate a classic style, very classic. Mr. Adams and Dombrovskis were photographers known for their patience and diligence in development. Sometimes the landscape puts a strain on my patience but even after a few months of waiting, success is appreciated and without having Adams experienced I have been perfecting darkroom printing for 15 years now. Mr Szilasi and Depardon are photographers who seek beauty in moments that may seem common, expressing the sincerity, the fragility of landscapes shaped by humans are for me the basis of my photographic reflection.
I tried several styles, portrait, photojournalism, etc. I loved the contrasting photos, graphics, the cross-process, but today I like photography for what it is; practically endless ranges of gray, soft colors, look for all the nuances of colors of autumn landscapes for example. I like to have the last touch of interpretation in a darkroom because the photo is a snapshot of the moment but the subtleties of the landscape are not always present or sometimes lack of intensity, in the darkroom I make sure to convey the feelings , the intensity of the moment.
The landscape photographs demonstrate purity, greater than oneself. In a world where everything goes very quickly, these landscapes reveal themselves as a ephemeral moment. These photographs are a timeless zone because these landscapes can't be reproduce, it is the capture of the moment that is shared. I do a lot of scouting in the region, once a place is chosen I can move there many times and even sometimes I can wait up to six months to have the sun in a certain place. Over time you learn to break certain rules, I took memorable pictures at noon. I work a lot with composition, it is for me the most important aspect and often neglected by photographers. For me, the important thing is to keep the eye of the spectator active, not to give him the center, I want him to look at the whole photo, to stop at the small details, that he traverses the landscape as I have traversed it; by taking the time. These pictures demonstrate the appropriation of the territory by humans. Whether by building agglomerations, means of transport or through agriculture, humans inevitably alter the landscape. Man is part of the landscape.
I use a film process to get closer to the state of creation of the first boom of the eighth art. This process allows me to find breathing, gestures, sensations and to tame the temporal approach of photography. I had abandoned film after school, in a workplace digital replaced film for reasons; time management and economic viability. And then I worked in lab, and finally made it in the darkroom, and realized printing for tother photographers; film photography allows greater control over the rendering of the final product compared to the instantaneous of the polaroid or digital. This control allows me to get as close as possible to the feeling experienced during the shooting. The analog element also brings us back to the invention of film 130 years ago, without being nostalgic, this aspect places us in a time space. In addition to this historical fact, I try to take photos that are not captured in a time frame.
My favorite camera is the Rolleiflex, it has an incomparable optical quality. The lens has no (or only one) protective layer which makes it less contrasting, much softer, the colors are in my opinion closer to what I perceive. The models I use date from 1958 and 1959. These cameras do not require batteries and do not have a photometer. The twin-lens allows shooting at the hip-level , therefore a creative process is part of the shooting, the search for the frame because it is not the vision we have. Their triggering is extremely silent, which is a significant advantage when reporting. From the beginning of the sixties photo-reporters made it their favorite camera and several famous photographers used the Rolleiflex; Lee Miller, Doisneau and Robert Capa to name just a few. I also use other cameras, mainly Linhof either 6x9 or 4x5, cameras that I reserve for black and white. My favorite lenses are Rodenstock, which I also use on my Linhofs and in the darkroom. My enlargers are equipped with Rodenstock APO Gerogon.
Thanks for reading, hope it wasn't too boring, my life isn't ;)
Please note: All of my work is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced, copied, edited, published, transmitted or downloaded in any way without my written permission.