Let’s start with a small presentation, who is Loic Seguin?
My name is Loïc Seguin. I have just turned fifty. I live in Belleville, a multi-ethnic Parisian area. I am a police captain and my routine is far from the art scene.
When did you start taking pictures? Do you remember what it felt like?
I realized only late that photography was essential for me and I had to fight an excessive fear to reveal something of me. After seven or eight years of hesitations, I begun my first work Half-Light in January 2018. It was a complete release.
What was the last picture you took?
During the lockdown, I took many pictures of my family. Trying to stay in a normal life.
Which authors have influenced you? If there are any. I’m not just talking about other photographers, they can be writers, books, painters, musicians…
I am really fond of the swedish guys ! Christer Strömholm, Anders Petersen, JH Engström. I have always been a fan of Diane Arbus, Boris Mikhailov, Antoine d’Agata… Ah yes, I could add an american writer Henry Miller with his trilogy Sexus, Plexus, Nexus.
As in all the arts, there is a cyclical trend in styles, themes and even tools used. This produces waves of very similar works, often without soul. Do you think this is inevitable or would you need more awareness?
The flow of images is outstanding. How can it be interrupted ? I just reviewed recently an interview of Anders Petersen in Close Distance. He stated we must use our guts instead of our head. And this is what I strive to do when I press the shutter release button : « be silent, don’t think and look… ». I really believe in a photography unreflective which takes a shape, well after the shooting. We need to find something in the bottom of our heart…
You seem to establish a relationship with the subjects you photograph, tell us the dynamics. do you have a standard approach or does it depend on who is in front that forms your behaviour ? You enter people’s lives, but also the human beings you immortalize enter your life. How deep? Do you have anything left over from photography, or can you not “take your work home”?
The photographs in Half-Light were taken in Paris during a period of mourning. I felt I had to look at people facing me. Without any social mask. Whether at the exit of Metro « Place des Fêtes » were I live, in cafés with regular patrons in Belleville area, or simply in the streets, I hailed them. The first pictures were often obtained at the bottom of a wall. Then simple relations were established, leading for some of them to further photo shooting in their homes. The major part of the persons who appear in the book live in my street and all have my phone number so, you can imagine…
The subjects you portray evoke primordial sensations, some look at the camera, others don’t, but the feeling I feel every time is very similar; something about an alienated humanity we are used to but don’t pay attention to. Is alienation a word you would associate with your work? If the answer is no, give me an adjective that you feel is yours.
You say almost everything. My gesture is very repetitive, obsessional with a quasi single photographic distance. And the result is arid, retained with no visual effects. Sort of photography of renunciation. I wanted to capture intimacy : marks, scars, bellies, backs, absent moments, fixed lines. What makes their identity and their capacity to keep standing.
What are the subjects you love to photograph? Are there situations that constantly return to your work?
After a long service as a police officer, I have an admiration for all who have a day to day courage to struggle with their loneliness or misery. They are not hiding from us. We need to give us our attention and affection.
A photo you’re particularly fond of? Show it to us.
My house publishing, Void made a Leporello of a complete black and white film of Slimane for the collector edition of the book. I love this guy.
How much courage does it take to be a good photographer?
There are many ways to be a photographer. For me ethic and respect are the most important.
In a hypothetical podium, where would you put honesty? And what would be the other two values that you consider indispensable in a photographic work?
Honesty, determination and uncompromising.
One or more obsessions. If you have any.
I am really obsessed of making more rolls than I should…
Tell me an anecdote, something curious that happened while you were shooting Half light, Your last book.
When we met, Boris, the man with a cigarette and the nail polish, told me - without knowing that I was actually a cop - that a gang had asked him to keep a lot of cocaine in his apartment. He needed some advices about it… I convinced him not to do it…
Thanks for the talk!
If you want know some more about my photography and my books you can find me here:
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/loic.seguin19/
Void website : https://void.photo/half-light