Emmanuel Coupe

Emmanuel Coupe

Nationalität: Frankreich
 

Artist's Statement:

Für mich ist die Fotografie eine Art geistiger Reflektor.

Ich möchte, dass meine Fotografie aus der Stille und der Ruhe kommt.

Da ich schon seit frühester Kindheit mit echter Wildnis verbunden bin, ist dies auch die Umgebung, in der ich immer meine innere Orientierung und die Art von Freiheit finden kann, die ich schätze. Die Fotografie, die ich im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes in diese Umgebung hineintragen konnte, verschaffte mir einfach eine gewisse Abstraktionsebene dazu.

Ich fotografiere zwar meist Motive in der Natur, aber letztlich zielt meine Arbeit auf die großen Abwesenden meiner Fotos, nämliche den Menschen. Ich benutze die Natur eigentlich als eine Art Auslöser, um menschliche Ideen und Emotionen zu interpretieren. Es handelt sich um einen Kreis von Verbindungen, der eine andere Art von Konversation teilt und engagiert - abstrakt, intuitiv und aufschlussreich.

Fotografie ist für mich eine Bewegung, die mit der Realität beginnt und mit der Interpretation endet. Interpretation ist zentral für meine Werke und die Nachbearbeitung ist ein integraler Bestandteil meiner Fotografie. Ich verbringe eine Gutteil der Zeit damit, die richtige tonale Artikulation meiner Projekte und Fotografien zu definieren. Die Aufnahme selbst und die Interpretation des Bildes stehen für mich im Kontinuum des gleichen kreativen Prozesses.

Ich wurde schon oft nach den Einflüssen meiner Arbeit gefragt und denke, dass hier Verbindung der Schlüssel ist. Dazu gehören auch auch Abstammung und Kontinuität, die im Kern meines künstlerischen Ansatzes zu finden sind. So übersetzt sich jede Erfahrung in meine Arbeit und ich erlaube damit vielen Künstlern, sich in meinen eigenen Arbeiten wieder zu finden. Ich sehe das, wie das Spinnen an einem Rad… Die Einzelteile fließen zusammen und bilden einen Faden… Empfangen und geben und so weiter. Und am Ende kommen so natürlich Kunst, Psychologie, Politik und so weiter in meine Werke.

Ein weiteres Element von Einflüssen kommt aus meinem eigenen ziellosen Wunsch nach Freiheit – mich einfach in die weite Landschaft treiben zu lassen und mich durch zufällige Gedanken inspirieren zu lassen. Ich gehöre nicht zu den Leuten, die dauernd alles aufschreiben müssen, was Ihnen wichtig erscheint oder wichtig werden könnte oder was toll wäre zu wissen. Ich möchte auch nicht zu viele Spuren von solchen Dingen behalten und hinterlassen. Ich vertraue einfach darauf, dass das, was für meine Arbeit wirklich relevant ist, auch an die Oberfläche kommen wird, wenn ich es brauche.

Ich kenne natürlich viele Kunstwerke, andere Ideen und meine eigenen Gedanken, alles, was mich auf die eine oder andere Weise berührt hat. Das ist genug für mich. Aber ich treibe keinen Aufwand, um das irgendwie zu inventarisieren. Ich hätte den Eindruck, ich bekäme dadurch nur mehr vordergründigen Lärm, der mich vom Eigentlichen abhält.

Vita:

Emmanuel Coupe was born in 1974 in Paris. He lived in Athens, Greece for more than 20 years until he moved to Los Angeles, California then Paris, France and back to Athens in 2009.

He is best known for both his engaging compositions, as well as the luminous presence of his prints. His photographs are often characterized by dynamic lighting, looming sense of darkness and his abstract compositions. A large portion of his work is linked with colder and often extreme weather environments found in various isolated wilderness areas and Nordic countries.

Early in his career, in the early nineties, he was dedicated exclusively to shooting black and white film. He worked extensively for many years in a traditional darkroom, resulting in many exhibitions. By the late nineties he moved to the US, where he became increasingly interested in landscape photography and began doing more work in color, as well as black and white.

Emmanuel’s landscape works and prints have received recognition throughout the world. Numerous exhibitions, awards and publications followed his works. Among others he was named Take-A-View - UK’s landscape photographer of the year in 2009, 1st prize in celebration of the 125 years of National Geographic, Gold medals in International Photography Awards and PX3 Paris, 1st place at the Spyder Awards and Epson Panoramic awards, best Black and White print at the Travel Photographer of the Year in 2013, Sony world photography finalist and many more.

Throughout the years, he exhibited his works in the UK, USA, Italy, China, France, Greece and Brazil. He has also lead both, photographic as well as digital printing workshops. Today, he remains as active as ever before, with the vast majority of his works being done in the digital darkroom, although he still enjoys shooting film, both medium and large format.

Interview:

1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
It is of importance to me to constantly remain engaged in the processes of capturing images and in-terpreting them on print. Being close to nature and taking photographs are both essentials in my life and so is the wish to create a point of contact with others through my photographs.

2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
Photographers, painters, musicians and filmmakers and just about any creative person can trigger something in me, which might carry over to a photograph and a future project. I would like however to name a few of the photographers that have been part of my photographic education and inspira-tion: Brett Weston, Walker Evans, Brassai, Michael Kenna, Eugene Atget, Josef Hoflehner, Andre Ker-tez, Henry Cartier-Bresson, Gary Winogrand and many more.

3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
If the creative is to be seen as the soul, then technique would be the body. I always admired photog-raphers who excelled in both, a bold unique vision and the appropriate carefully crafted technique that would give justice to that vision, thus become essential. Even a seemingly sloppy technique can hide mastery or a technically perfect image lack in depth.

4. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT DECIDING TO BECOME A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER?
I come from a culture in which landscape photography and exploring nature not only was almost un-heard of, but certainly not something anyone would associate with making a living with. Breaking that barrier was not straight forward, but then again I always enjoyed going against the tide.

5. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
From early childhood on, I had a strong calling to seek out the often perceived as unwelcoming land-scape and find inspiration there. Art and nature always made sense to me. I come from a family of great musicians and grew up listening to lots of music, so music always made sense to me. However, the so-called civilized world failed to register with me the same deep satisfying understanding. To this day I maintain a relation with both wild nature and urban life. I seem to take away things from living in that contrast, even though I occasionally feel quite demoralized by life in the organized world.

6. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
I enjoy the process, the struggles along the way, the quiet moments as well as the rush of being out in nature and actively being involved with taking photographs. It’s when the possibilities feel limitless and I get to become a collector of my own impressions of the landscapes in front of me. 

7. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
Practical issues aside (many of those I’m afraid), it’s the creative challenge that is the most essential to me. Putting myself in a position to be surprised, remain curious and playful are some of the im-portant elements that trigger the necessary intensity in my work.

8. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
I began photography long before the digital era; in the days of film, which I still use to this day. The darkroom was a place where I realized magic happened; spending countless hours through the years there. Naturally, I became fascinated with printing, a passion that has lasted 25 years; thus far with-out much change since my migration to the digital darkroom. Despite this long standing relationship, I remain a student. I study, discuss and above all practice printing constantly.

9. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A "NOVICE"?
Study the greats before you and not just the photographers, but artists across the board. In the end, education plays a big part of the equation. Photography is an extremely popular art form; yet it is the one where so many greats are totally ignored. Even a non-musician knows and has heard the music of Bach or Mozart and all painters have studied the works of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Da Vinci and Picasso just to name a few. Yet, in photography the equivalent masters like Kertez, Bresson, Eugene Smith, Kudelka and Weston are little known to the vast majority of practicing and aspiring photographers. Perhaps the perceived ease of photography causes this epidermic approach to the need of education beyond the technical aspects. And this obscurity of the great masters might very well maintain the false idea that photography is a lesser form of art.

10. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
Both photography and nature tap into my curiosity and sense of wonder. There is also a tremendous sense of freedom, from being out in the wild nature. Despite the fact that I carefully study the places I visit beforehand and I think of what directions I will be taking, in the end, it’s a lot of unknowns. I will still be surprised and the images will take a life of their own.

11. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
A great part of my works deals with the sense of stillness, emptiness and vastness. I also often merge the feelings chaos and balance in my abstract and intimate works.

12. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
The composition obviously has to fall right into place. That is, the arrangement of the elements and the lighting, which makes those elements what they are in a photographic sense. Then comes the printed interpretation, which I consider a crucial part of the process. Tonal articulation is something I obsess about. In order to hit the notes that will guide perception of the print in the right direction.

13. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
My notion of beauty has evolved through time, as my own personal impressions of nature became rather complex. I find that the perception of order, when everything falls into place, to be the kind of beauty that interests me most.

14. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
We are all people of nature, whether our modern lives have stripped so many of us from acknowledging this reality or not. Even those with lacking interest for nature will draw energy, inspiration and strength from gazing into a distant horizon. Wilderness and nature can be places where humans remove all the static noise from their life, look clearly within themselves and discover amazement about who they are. Seeing the possibilities that exist around them, renew their sense of being alive and breathing. Nature in my view is not to be thought of, it is not approached by logical conclusions. It is rather an experience that transcends and defies theorizing. Most people who seek to have deep experiences in nature will attest to its powers, which is ignored by an ever growing number of people on this planet. When we look at nature, when we look at the earth, we have nothing less of a miracle; a possible connection to something greater, right here in front of us.


At Work:

»We are all people of nature, whether our modern lives have stripped so many of us from acknowledging this reality or not. Even those with lacking interest for nature will draw energy, inspiration and strength from gazing into a distant horizon. Wilderness and nature can be places where humans remove all the static noise from their life, look clearly within themselves and discover amazement about who they are. Seeing the possibilities that exist around them, renew their sense of being alive and breathing. Nature in my view is not to be thought of, it is not approached by logical conclusions. It is rather an experience that transcends and defies theorizing. Most people who seek to have deep experiences in nature will attest to its powers, which is ignored by an ever growing number of people on this planet. When we look at nature, when we look at the earth, we have nothing less of a miracle; a possible connection to something greater, right here in front of us«

Veröffentlichungen:

- | National Geographic
- | High Life (British Airways)
- | Outdoor photographer
- | Practical photography
- | Chasseur d'Images
- | The Sunday Times Magazine
- | Geotropio
- | Epsilon
- | Digital photographer
- | Fotohoros
- | Fotografos
- | Goedele
- | Epikaira
- | The Photo Paper
- | Foto-Video (China)
- | Silvershotz
- | Signapore Airlines (Silverkris)
- | BW Magazine

Emmanuel's Images have also appeared in over 20 photography books.

Awards:

- 2015 |
PX3 Awards, Silver and Bronze in Landscape
IPA / Lucie awards, Honorable mention in Nature, Aerial
TPOTY Travel Photographer of the Year, Finalist

- 2014 |
PX3 Awards, Nature Photographer of the Year
PX3 Awards, Gold in Fine art Landscape, Nature and Silver in Fine Art Abstract
Sony World Photography Awards, Finalist
Maters Cup, 2nd Place - Merit of Excellence
B&W Magazine, Portfolio Merit Award

- 2013 |
TPOTY Travel Photographer of the Year, 1st prize for best single monochrome print,
runner up for monochrome portfolio
B&W Spider awards, 1st Place - Outstanding Achievement
IPA / Lucie awards, 1st and 3rd place in Nature, Aerials category
Epson Panoramic, Gold award and two Silver awards
PX3 Awards, Bronze Prize in Nature category
Loupe Awards, 2 silver and 1 bronze award in Nature Category

- 2012 |
B&W Spider awards, Nominee Winner in Architecture, Nature and
Fine Art categories
IPA / Lucie awards, 2nd Place in Nature category
PX3 Awards, two 3rd Prize awards in Nature category
B&W Magazine, Portfolio Merit Award

- 2011 |
IPA / Lucie awards, 1st Prize Winner in Nature category
Loupe awards, 2 Silver and 3 bronze awards in Nature Category
Masters Cup Awards, Nominee Winner in Architecture
National Geographic Photographer of the Year, Editor's Choice
National Geographic Traveler Photographer of the Year, Editor's Choice
IPA /Lucie awards, two 3rd Prize awards in Nature category
PX3 Awards, Gold award in Nature category
PX3 People's Choice Awards, 1st and 2nd place in Architecture
B&W Spider Awards, Nominee Winner in Nature and Architecture
Epson Panoramic, 2 Silver and 5 bronze awards

- 2009 | 2010 | Named Landscape photographer of the year in the U.K., Take A View

- 2008 | First Prize, Epson competition


Projekt: Fractals

(Fraktale)
Dies ist eine Fotoserie von Fragmentierung, Brüchen und Verbindung. Sie erscheinen wie viele verschieden Abbruchstücke, sind aber alle Teil der gleichen Felswand. Diese Formationen tragen die Zeichen der Zeit, Wasser und Winde, Eis und Feuer haben ihre unverkennbaren Markierungen hinterlassen.

Es ist ein intimer Blick auf diese Felsgesichter. Er grenzt an eine abstrakte Darstellung, überschreitet aber diese Grenze nicht.

Projekt: Earth / Water / Blood

(Erde / Wasser / Blut)
Der Norden Islands, dieses weitgehend unfruchtbare Land, wird von zahlreichen Flüssen durchströmt, die es permanent auswaschen. Von oben gesehen, sieht es aus wie eiskaltes Blut, das da läuft und durch die Adern scheint.

Es gibt keine menschlichen Artefakte keine Elemente, die einen Größenbezug herstellen würden, wie Straßen, Brücken, Häuser etc. Und es gibt in dieser Serie keinen Versuch, dem Betrachter dabei zu helfen, zu verstehen, was er da sieht. Dieses einzigartige, unerwartete visuelle Spiel verwandelt sich in ein abstraktes Rätsel, das schwierig ist und das unsere Gedanken ganz einnehmen kann. Auf viele Menschen wirken diese Bilder wie eine Einladung zur Meditation, zum Ruhigwerden. 

Projekt: Traces of Rolling Tide

(Brandungsspuren)
Ständig verändert die Brandung die Landschaft und gräbt neue Formationen in sie hinein. Dies Kraft des Wassers ist daher eine gute Metapher für Kampf und Opposition. In dieser Serie wird der Protagonist -die Brandung- kaum sichtbar gemacht. Das Ergebnis seiner Anwesenheit spricht jedoch für sich. Die gehärteten schweren Felsen klammern sich an den leicht schwingenden Sand, um sich festzuhalten. Die vielen Flecken aus weißem und schwarzem Sand werden immer neu arrangiert, wenn die Brandung über sie hinweg geht.
Wir haben es hier mit ganz ursprünglichen Elementen und Kräften zu tun. Mich fasziniert dabei auch das endlose Spiel der Formen, das sich daraus ergibt.

Projekt: White against Black

Die Eisberge sind in den letzten Jahren zu einem Thema geworden. Sie teilen oft die öffentliche Meinung, schaffen politische Spannungen und ihr schnelles Schmelzen gilt vielen als Bedrohung unserer Existenz. Ich konnte mich diesem Thema nicht von einem neutralen Standpunkt aus nähern. Um es rundheraus zu sagen, ich bin nicht neutral, und außerdem halte ich Neutralität für kein geeignetes Mittel, wenn ich die Wahrheit einer Sache suche. Bei ‚Weiß gegen Schwarz‘ geht es darum, wie klar und direkt ich dieses ständige Umweltproblem wahrnehme.