LAURENT DENIMAL

What was the first photograph you ever took?

At  a early age, during the 70’ – I was given  my grand-fathers rolleiflex (He was a
doctor, I never met him, but my father told me he use to photograph alot of family  life, specially with
medium format, and my mother kept a camera body of his work  after his death in1962).
I can’t remember which picture it was I took, but under the supervision of my mum, I
was 10 years old. I still use the camera today, for portraits of writers and also for a  project Im  working on,
about ”Saint-Valery-sur-Somme” in the north of France.

Talk us through your creative process?

Keep moving!
The camera is a tool, photographys has been part of  me ,in my dailylife since i was  10 years old, after
I went to study  photography in Stockholm, Sweden, where I live.
even when doing th odd  jobs, I  made it a habit to document my dailylife, at my
jobplace, and make books of the pictures.
Like in ”Tour de Stockholm”, a bike messengers diary through the streets of
Stockholm, all the photogrpahs were taken with an analog Olympus Mju-II, exclusivly
b&w rolls, shooting from the saddle.
Like in ”Millesgården”, as I worked 4 years as a gardener outside Stockholm, carriyng
a plastic camera from the 50’ in my  pocket (Vredeboch Felica, medium format), all
year round, keeping my eyes open, taking  snapshot.
Like in ”Djurgården” (a project still in progress),  I worked 7 months in an other
park, located in the city centre, having a polaroid camera 600 by hand, and shooting
the daily life in the garden, 1, 2 or 10 polaroid images a day.
As I was actually employed to do a specific job, I had to find a tool which is discrete,
easy to use and cheap. I love books, and love to see my photographs in book form – I did it with Tour de
Stockholm and Millesgården (Carlsson editor), I am working now on a book about
Djurgården.  I like to explore new format, new cameras, new films.
I bought the camera I use for ”Millesgården” for 2,5 €! That’s the funniest! The film roll
is more expensive,  I don’t realy  care.
All these projects don’t give so much money att all – but that’s not the meaning for
me.
The purpose is to create nice composition / photographs, to tell a story, the story of a
place and the people working there.

Which fellow photographer would you like to collaborate with on a project ?

Daydo Moriyama

What types of people inspire you to take their photograph?

The poor, the honest, the humble.
In fact, the people or the situation I am confronted  with, the person close to me and my travels through China, India, the Middle-east – just walking the streets and being there, watching the landscape, the people, looking for the right
moment, inspire me alot

Why do you think your work have this untold story which feature so often in your
images?

Poetry is a kind of untold story – i see the subject as it is wihout changíng nothing in it.
Just press  snap away  ,as I crossed South India , walk the streets of Beyrouth or
Damascus, the same spontaneity, the same concentration, the same presence of
mind. It’s about photography, and a bit about meditation too.

Which do you prefer; photographs whose subjects are contrived or spontaneous?

Spontaneous! The expression of life, no preparation, something happen, you’re just
there, the photography is in front of you, you see and feelit and its gone, you a have a few second
to react, you have to ”act” now, NOW, and you do it. Spontaneity!
No more thinking. See Cartier-Bresson, again and again. Everything is there.

What is it about black and white imagery that speaks to you ?

The infinity of gray, all between black and white. I love developp my photographs in
the dark room, it’s a moment of grace. B&W is elegance and refinement.

If you were on an island and you were allowed one item what would t be and why?

A bottle of Gigondas 2007.
(I was thinking first of a Leica M6 loaded with a tri-X to keep the eyes in action, but
what could I do if there is no darkroom on that island?)

What inspires you to create?

Photography is a kind of therapy – keep creating, as your questioning yourself, and
follow the infinity of the situations which occur.