Dialogues et Complicites

Portfolio created: 1995

How do you find yourself? How do you inform your personality and gradually form your own space by articulating a personal, clear and distinct proposal towards life?

In a few words, and contrary to the fashionable answer nowadays, is: very slowly, step-by-step, with careful analysis of what has proceeded, and continuous experimentation without the fear of getting it wrong. Isn’t it exactly that what we do throughout our lives?

We start as children wearing clothes that someone else chose on our behalf and dwell in rooms decorated for us before we ever arrived. We pass through puberty to reject, with an intensity many times all that we were given and often choose exactly the opposite response in what we know as correct. It is only in the fullness of time that we throw away the unnecessary and hold on dearly to the important ones, making them our own. We are, as they say, our own man, and what we would do with it is a responsibility that lies entirely on us.

My moment waited for me in France. Until then, during the years of study, I was a decent student and an awful photographer at the same time. The European student exchange program Erasmus offered a revelation for me: away from academic timetables and reviews, for the very first time I began to enjoy taking photographs. Arriving to student residence Résidence Les Hêtres, I turned my camera to my roommates. The first few days there, having a glimpse at the rooms behind half-open doors I noticed that the very identical type of 9 square metres room had been totally reshaped by the tenant according to his or her personality. Carpets on the floor for friends from the east, pictures on the wall reminding of the home for Africans, many books for those studying humanities and music and video devices for the loner ones who spent many hours in those few square metres.

I wrote the exact same message and printed it in multiple copies and slipped it under all those doors. The photographs of Dialogues et Complicités present the faces of the ones that opened their door and received me hospitably in their small world.