My photographs are rarely spontaneous. Everything in them has a reason for being there. I go through extensive research for every one of my projects, and most of the time I sketch my images before execution. Symbolism, mythology, and historical and cultural references are crucial elements for the construction of my photographs.
Even if it isn’t always obvious at first glance, my images often reflect on social, political, and cultural issues including our relationship with nudity, religion, the environment, war, and the fragility of life.
I believe that being around the medium of photography throughout my life has firmly shaped my view of the world and how I photograph that world. Even so, for most of my childhood, I did not feel that I would pursue the medium as a career. However, when I finally seriously started taking photos in my early teens it felt as natural as breathing.
Photography is a magical way to freeze time. When it was first introduced, people trusted the photographer and respected him as they would their doctor. The photographer committed himself to capture the most beautiful images of important moments in their clients’ lives like weddings and communions, or the portrait of a newborn or a deceased loved one. At the time, photography was viewed as a truly spectacular invention.
I felt that experience personally during my early work, when I went to Africa to take photos with indigenous tribes. The trust that formed between the sitters and myself during this undertaking and the power of the medium fascinated me so much that I still focus on these two vectors today whenever I work on projects involving people.
In our society, most of us feel pressured by societal norms to identify with our profession and accept the label of that profession. This certainly applies to photography; however, I never feel that I should call myself a portrait photographer, fashion photographer, still life photographer, or a fine art photographer. For me, what matters most is the amount of freedom the medium gives me to create and explore the world.
I am interested in taking photographs of whatever I feel is worth resting my eyes on. My images can bring pleasure, sadness, awareness, and instigate reflection. I don’t save lives and I don’t make decisions that change the world but I always keep in mind that I am someone who is lucky enough to do what he loves the most for a living - taking photographs and making art.
Laurent Elie Badessi