Europe Week: Alain Laboile
Guest editor, Jacqueline Roberts shares a week of European photographers, today with Alain Laboile. A huge thank you to Jacqueline for her insight and efforts.
Alain Laboile was born in Bordeaux (France) in 1969. In 1990 he meets his wife, Anne, an Art student and his passion for art snowballs. After cumulating jobs here and there, Alain becomes a sculptor, fascinated by insects he sculpts in plaster, in stone, in rusty iron. They live in Bordeaux, on top of the hill. Their children are born. The house now bursting at the seams, they leave the hill for the “stream on the edge of the world”. Alain starts taking pictures of his sculptures, then his children, every day… a diary of everyday life. Alain has won numerous awards and has exhibited his work across France. His first monograph, En attendant le facteur, (Waiting for the postman) is out now.
What does your French cultural heritage bring to your work?
From my point of view, I would say that what makes the singularity of my work is more the fact that I live in the countryside than the fact that I am french.
My work resonates beyond the borders, it evokes the lost childhood in which even an Argentinian or a Japanese can find himself. The opposition to a urban lifestyle is to my mind stronger than the belonging to a nation.
What difference do you see between work created in Europe and in the States?
I don’t ask myself questions regarding the nakedness of my children when I take my pictures. Nudity is part of my work, but it is not its main subject. This relation towards nudity is not the same in the US, it is seemingly less natural.
What is the state of photography in your country?
Living off in the countryside, I realized that most of the activity and opportunities for a photographer are in the capital: Paris is the place to be.
I’m a father of six. My children are my subject… an endless subject. I just have to look at them, children are creative, you just need to be there waiting for things to happen in the frame and “click”.
Today, photographing my children moving and playing in their own environment, with their spontaneous behaviour is my favourite subject. My photography is like a daily diary. If there is emotion in the picture, that’s good, even if it is a bit blurred or poorly framed. For me, it is not a problem.
Emotion may arise from ordinary situations, from little things referring to ourselves. That is why family pictures are constantly renewing themselves. Someone commented about my images that they are like “street family” photography. I love “street” photography. It is not something I can practice because I live in the countryside, but I find my work quite close to that spirit there. There are similarities in the raw side and spontaneous situations photographed. These are pieces of life that transcribe a certain reality.