Yann Bajard «I am a Stakhanovite of photography, but I don’t shoot at random, I take a photo when I feel something, it’s an emotional action which is the consequence of my constant fascination for all the things in life»
Bonjour Yann let’s start our interview with this photo. It looks like a still from a video clip, Karmacoma from Massive Attack was the first thing that I thought and it is quintessentially you, a Blackshoot Attack. Could you tell me how this brilliant shot materialized?
Bonjour Dimitris! It’s funny that you mention a video clip because the model on this picture is a friend of mine who had made a clip on that day for his rock band « Backspin ». I was in my appartment when François called me and told me he has a funny face for a shooting. I laughed when I saw him and as I usually do, I improvised. We were in my kitchen and on that day the light was strong, ideal for a graphic and contrasted result, perfect for a rock spirit picture. His black and white face reminded me the ying and yang symbol and I thought instantly that I have a chrome plated Buddha moneybox, ideal for hard contrasts and lights reflections. I added a silver skull pendant (a creation of mine) because I love when little details catch the viewer’s attention.
In your description you say you are a life reporter, jewels designer and a hypno photographer? I didn’t quite get the last one, could you please explain it and tell me a few things about you?
Haha, it’s a joke, I am not an hypnotist, but the power of pictures in our minds always interests me, I love to make strong and expressive pictures and I like to play with the perceptions of reality, I like to create confusion or fascination, my camera is like an illusionist’s magic wand.
When I was young I studied illustration and infography, it was back in the 90’s. Those days I was taking photos for my visual documentation of my drawings. It wasn’t till years later that I understood that photography can be used to tell stories just like painting or drawing.
So you are a true bred street photographer and a very prolific one, I used to be annoyed by your amount of daily photos I must confess. You seem to enjoy walking down the streets as much as shooting them. What is your state of mind while outside, what tickles your eye?
Yes I am a Stakhanovite of photography, but I don’t shoot at random, I take a photo when I feel something, it’s an emotional action which is the consequence of my constant fascination for all the things in life. I began this intensive practice of photography 3 years ago, in those days I felt the need to live my life intensely and I felt the need to reconnect with the world. Taking a photo is a way to live the moment and capture the eternal present, or just tell a story. I am a street photographer because I live in a town, it’s not a choice. If I lived in the desert I would be a desert photographer!
I wonder, do you connect with these moments that you see, are you an empath? Or do you just record them without judgement?
Yes I think I live all the things with empathy, but I don’t understand all the time what I am exactly in empathy with, it’s more sensitivity than intellectualism. But this is not a rule, I am a big fan of tv and movies and I love paintings too so frequently it happens that I take a picture like a movie director or a painter but I never have plans, everything is a sudden inspiration.
Something that interests me personally is the morality of the street photography. Normally we shouldn’t click at people alone, without their consent or in a bad state. Sometimes you bend these rules. What is your compass?
I think it’s not my problem, if one of my photos causes problems I will apologize or I ‘ll assume my responsibility but it’s just rules and art is free. I don’t want to and I can’t censor myself.
So you put your headphones on, roam the streets and then you glimpse at your reflection on a surface. I find your self portraits very interesting and amusing. How do you see yourself in them?
Haha yes, I take this whole series with a lot of fun, but with seriousness too, that’s the secret! There are no rules, sometimes it’s me, I am recognisable and sometimes this is just a presence, a silhouette, it can be you or anybody, it’s all the parts that make me, I know it’s a little schizophrenic but like all autoportraits exercices are my way to express the fact that life is ephemerous and that everything is just materials and time, but with connections. It is a way of having fun with my reflection, a way to transform myself into a mysterious character or make me the hero of a story.
From dreamy hues to vibrant contrasts, dark black and whites or photorealism, you glide through the editing process. What are your usual decisions while working on a photo?
No rules as always. However, I know what I want or when I discover my photo on my pc I work on the picture with my sensations. I know instantly what I will make with that picture and if it’s not the case I don’t use this photo.
If I could buy you a ticket to any place, where would you like to walk and shoot? Would you take me with you or do you prefer your solitude?
I will answer you straight ahead, the space! Mars if it’s possible, or in the ISS, the International Space Station. Yes of course! Come on! Are you ok? Haha!
Info: Jann’s profile in Instagram https://www.instagram.com/blackshootattack/ and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003483580439&fref=ts