Julien Benhamou. Interview

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Please tell us how ballet began in your life. Making portraits of dancers was your long time goal or something that happened suddenly? Do you remember your first ballet dancer model?

I saw my first ballet very late when I was 27. It was a real chock of beauty. The next day I wrote a project for the opera house of Paris.   It has been accepted and that is how I began to photograph dancers. Things went very fast and easily.

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Can you define yourself as a ballet lover and fan or is it, first of all, a part of your “photographical”  experience?

I consider myself as a portraitist first. I love dance but photography and portrait are my first love.

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Dancers….who are they for Julien Benhamou? Models? Friends? Cooperators? Someone to admire?

Huge and beautiful artists. That is how I see them. I consider myself privileged to cooperate with them.

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What does inspire you as an artist?

People, their charisma,  their look, the way they move, how they talk smile etc. Paintings , music, sculptures, shows, everything …

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Do you have to see a dancer performing on stage in order to understand if you want to work with him? 

Not at all. Most of time it is because I met them and socialised with them that comes the wish to work together. Or sometimes it is because they contacted me through social media.

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Do you seek to express a personal character of your model through your images?

No. As a photo maker my aim is to create picture that are esthetics and poetics. But of course I use their personality.

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Do you prefer stage photography or studio work? Strict plan or improvisation?

I think I can go further in creation with studio work because I’m in charge of everything : cast location clothes etc
In studio It is about having an idea and try to realise it.
When I photograph a stage performance my goal is to make beautiful pictures out of what I see. When I organise a photoshoot my goal is to create what I have in my mind.

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What is your favorite ballet performance that you have ever photographed and why?
It is funny because when I organise photoshoots I usualy focus on only few dancers but on stage I am very sensitive to groups so I love Pina le Sacre du Printemps and more recently the ballet Crystal Pyte created for the Opera House of Paris the season canon . Those are the two ballet I was the most impressed by.

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The main artistic idea of your series Blessed Unrest and how it was born.

“Blessed Unrest” starting by the meeting of Aurélien Dougé, artistic director of Inkörper Company. Together we are making researches and experimentations around the precariousness of the body. By confronting the body with different materials, we aim to built poetic pictures which in the second time remind the viewer that we will never be stronger than nature, that we are constantly on the wire in our relationship with it.

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You are the author of the stunning series of portraits of the “etoiles de L’Opera de Paris”. What is the secret of making a series of photos that all must  meet very strict standards and at the same time tell different dancers’ “stories”.

I tried to be just sensitive to the way the move and how they are showing some aspects of their personality through that.

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What is the dream of photographer Julien Benhamou?

To continue to collaborate with the same artists through years and to be open to work with other artists who work with their bodies.

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On the photos: Aurelien Douge, Andreaa Gsn, Gregory Dominiak and Lazaro Costa, Jayr Art, Bierre-Antoine Brunet, Roberto Bolle, Scott Sehneider, Utku Bal, Isabelle Ciaravola and Regine Dayanova, Mikael Lafon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]