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2019.01.25 Eric Bouvet

Personal Best vol.11 | Eric Bouvet

Eric Bouvet

Eric Bouvet is a French photographer born in 1961. He began his carrier in 1981 after arts and applied graphic techniques studies at Estienne School of Paris.
His interest for photography seems to start when, aged of 8 years old, he saw on TV the first steps of man on the moon. The power of the direct information broadcast, the picture’s strength of this historical moment seems to be the main factors for him to cover the evolution of the world over 120 different countries during the last thirty years.
Eric Bouvet worked as photographer for Gamma agency during the eighties. He works as free lance since 1990.
In 1985, he gains his international reputation with the covering of the Armero volcanic eruption in Colombia. After, he covered the main conflicts of the recent past in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Chechnya, Sudan, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Israel, North Ireland, Kurdistan, Angola, Suriname, Rwanda and Libya.
He covered also the main international moments as the ayatollah Khomeini’s funeral, the Tiananmen Square Chinese protests, the fall of Berlin Wall, the Czech velvet revolution, the release from prison of Nelson Mandela and the Olympic games.
He worked also on many social subjects as the Russian jails, the young soldiers on aircraft carriers, the French police work in suburb, the last miners in France, the life in pediatric department for children suffering cancer.
The three last years, he is working on two long way documentary subjects named «Love» and «Peace».
His work has been published by the main international magazines as Time, Life, Newsweek, Paris-Match, Stern, the Sunday Times Magazine, the NYT Magazine, Der Spiegel, Le Monde.
He collaborated to photographic campaigns for the United Nations, many NGOs and charity organizations as « Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)”, the International Committee of the Red Cross, “Médecins du Monde (MDM)” and “Action Contre la Faim (ACF)”.
Along the way, Bouvet has received five World Press Awards, as well as two Visa d’Or Awards (Perpignan Photo Festival), the Gold medal for the 150th anniversary of Photography, the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, the Public award from Bayeux-Calvados, the Front Line Club award and the Paris-Match Award.

Photography a way of life, a constant search, a lifetime investment…

I’m called as a photojournalist because I’ve covered numerous conflicts for important magazines such as Life, Newsweek, Time, Stern, The Sunday Times magazine, Paris Match, etc… But, above all, I love photography itself, this could be street photography, a documentary series, a studio portrait, personal work or a breaking news story. The eye must be curious, it’s good for the mind. Discovering others through my camera allows me to better understand, to accept, to share what is truly photography.

X100

The X100 was my first Fujifilm camera, used in August 2011 the fall of the Kadhafi regime in Tripoli. After a crazy day during the taking of the Dictator’s barracks, I spent a calm day making a few images just for pleasure. The international press was gathered in a nice hotel, a real circus…a reflection through a window, an instinctive image without thinking, the first impression is the good one, you only have to push the button. Technically the camera takes care of everything in aperture priority mode.

X-T1 & XF18-55mmF2.8-4

New York, during a glacial day, a hot tea would be more than welcomed! Immediately after entering to the coffee shop a vision arised, a fully animated Statue of Liberty 🙂 The woman moved her hands a lot, I sat down at the opposite her showing my camera, it didn’t bother her and I waited a few seconds to capture the right moment. Then there was nothing left to do but drink my tea with the satisfaction of having made a successful little image.

X-Pro2 & XF16-55mmF2.8

Beirut, a story about religion, not always easy to manage- but easy photos do not interest me – This one I was looking for, showed half the frame in a mirror. I like these kinds of images where one gets lost. And the camera – like all those proposed in the X Series lineup – allows me to be concentrated on the point of view, the frame, the intention, and, in short, not to worry if my settings are good, because I know the camera, I trust it. It saves precious time.

X-Pro1 & XF35mmF1.4

Maiden, Kiev. A people’s revolution against the president – who fled that same day – but that’s cost a high price of 70 deads. A difficult day in the middle of guns shooting, thinking about staying alive and thinking at the same time to make the best pictures possible. It’s sure that my two X-Pro cameras equipped with a 23mm and a 35mm are perfect for conflict photography. I’m light, rapid, discrete and mobile! These images were awarded by a “Photojournalist Frontline Club Award.”

X-Pro1 & XF56mmF1.2

Kiev. A people’s revolution gathering on Maiden Square. The XF56mmF1.2 lens was the perfect lens for this image with an f/8 aperture. With enough depth of field so that everything seems to be the same plane. Another image full of information where one has to take time to understand it.

GFX 50S

Mosul. Iraq. The Iraqi armed forces surround the last bastion of ISIS. It was street to street, building to building, fighting. It was dark but by pushing the ISO to 12800, hand held and a slow shutter speed (1/15s), the camera captured the sparks. This type of image should be taken very quickly because you must clear out for fear that the snipers of the other side can locate the shooter and rocket the location. I bring the GFX everywhere because it’s not any bigger than a DSLR and has exceptional quality. It’s a real field camera.

GFX 50R

The Champs Elysées Avenue. France is the world champion of soccer (Football). In the noisy crowd, happy, excited, the airplanes pass over rapidly deploying the national colors…barely the time to turn around and I push the shutter release by instinct. As with the X Series cameras, a stolen picture, a flag that flaps right in the middle. The GFX 50R is definitely a camera to carry with you anywhere in any situation…

X-Pro2 & XF35mmF1.4

The Greek-Macedonian border. The migrants are stuck behind barbed wire, in the middle of winter, in the cold weather and the mud, lacking hygiene and food, a horrible situation. The kind of place where one has to be careful to respect the dignity of the people who are fighting to keep it as much as possible. I like to work discretely, in a respectful manner, not aggressively. The X Series cameras suit me well for this manner of working.

X-Pro2 & XF23mmF2

This is typical of a stolen image, the pleasure of an instant, of composition, an instinct frame, sometimes everything falls at the right place, pleasurable photography exists! Everything is there, the decor exists, the nature, the elements, the people and the action, I don’t take anything because everything was given to me.

X-T2 & XF50mmF2, XF23mmF2

For one week I had the honor to be in the middle of a Swiss philharmonic orchestra working to achieve excellence. It’s communicative, I was completely transported into this universe. I only had to observe, reflect, concentrate to be aligned with them, within the same spirit. The X Series, light, small, with its silent shutter, permitted me to sneak and slip from one podium to another, from backstage to the artists dressing rooms. It was a joy to photograph, to experience the magical moments.

My cameras are like hyphens to access these unbelievable, strange, magical, exceptional situations, to meet marvelous, admirable, surprising and extraordinary people.

Read more on “Personal Best”

Vol.1- Flemming Bo Jensen
Vol.2- Pieter D’Hoop
Vol.3- Santiago Escobar-Jarmillo
Vol.4- Stefan Finger
Vol.5- Xyza Cruz Bacani
Vol.6- Christian Bobst
Vol.7- Tomasz Lazar
Vol.8- Eamonn McCarthy
Vol.9- Faruk Akbaş
Vol.10- Kevin Mullins

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