Self-taught photographer Rémi Chapeaublanc was destined for a scientific career in bioinformatics. To this training, from which a Cartesian hallmark remains, he added a sensitive, human-centred dimension the day he decided on the photography profession.
He has always been interested in others and travels without an interpreter, not speaking the languages of the countries that he travels across. Expression and image enable exchange. This is how he honed his skills in Canada, Norway, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Russia, Mongolia, Laos, and many more.
For his series Gods & Beasts (2011), he crossed Europe and Asia up to Mongolia with his motorcycle. He produced portraits of nomadic Kazakh herders and their animals at nightfall, inside or outside the yurts, never resorting to touching up despite working in digital.
The use of chiaroscuro in the serious and unique portraits in the Gods & Beasts series immobilizes the demeanours and strengthens their stunning aspect. Rémi Chapeaublanc’s work is characterized by powerful and refined photography that is very humane, as well as engaged. Presented side by side, portraits of men and animals have equal standing, the same treatment is applied, leading viewers to question the nature of relationships between man and animals and the regime of values that everyone confers upon them.
For his last series Riding the Silent Storm, he takes us on a personal and introspective journey. Time to retrace his own steps, to reconcile with his traumatic past.
2013 - Coup de Chapeau Prize, 2013 - Selected for Fubiz Awards, 2012 - Montier Photo Festival award winner, 2012 - Selected for the Mois de la photo OFF, 2012 - Photocollection award winner, 2011 - Nuits Photographiques award winner, 2011 - Selected for the town of Vichy photo prize
- RC aerial
- Video capture
- Video editing
Riding the Silent Storm
« These cracks opening underfoot seem to have hypnotized me, rendering me indifferent. My dogs start off abruptly and begin to run with an unusual frenzy, as if they wanted to remove me from an omnipresent threat. I cannot see anything; everything is white, a biting and freezing white that whips my face, making it painful to breathe. I try to catch a glimpse of the other sleds in the distance in front of me, trying to decipher the various shapes in shades of white. Vibrations from another sled are approaching. Not a sound reaches my ears. I cross this silent storm, protecting myself in any way possible. »
Following a traumatic event, Rémi Chapeaublanc hits the road again, abandoning his motorbike for a team of dogs that will take him across Khuvsgul Lake, 140 km (approx. 87 miles) long, in northern Mongolia. The expedition proves to be a source of unexpected metaphors giving substance to the healing process of which he will be both protagonist and spectator.
Burkit, from Gods & Beasts photo series
A solitary voyage through Europe and Asia, led Rémi Chapeaublanc to Mongolia. The discovery of this country, where Man has not yet desecrated Nature, fed his thinking to create the photographic series Gods & Beasts.
In these lands, men and animals depend on ancestral ties that are both sacred and necessary. It is an archaic and visceral relationship in which equivocal domination games are put into questioning. Which are the gods, and which are the beasts? Or rather to whom are they the Gods and for whom are they Beasts?
Gods & Beasts consists of raw portraits. While there is an ambiguous hierarchy between men and animals, this series – created outside of a studio, in the original environment – overcomes this cultural order. This work of bringing into the light these relationships – in an almost ceremonial manner – places these Gods and Beasts for once on equal footing. The viewer is thus left the sole judge of the boundary between animal and divine.