Live and work at New York
Frédéric-JG Blanque (FJG) became passionate about photography when he was a teenager. A Dutch uncle of his, a portrait photographer known for his pictures of JFK and Louis Armstrong, inspired him to take up the photography medium as a way of showing his perception of the world. He was then 14 years old. Black and white photography, the format of his first Polaroid camera and the constant practice of medium-format traditional photography trained his eye to the “square” composition. His business studies then drew him away from red-lit darkrooms. His business career took off : his Canon camera and collection of lenses lay dormant. Until one day in June 2001, as he was walking in Lower Manhattan, he came up close to the silver-grey foot of a WTC tower. That perfect composition, that epiphanic moment, were never captured on film : he did not have his camera with him. He promised himself to come back to fill the void. A few months later Ground Zero happened. Years went by, he stopped his real estate activities, and confronting the vacant space where his youthful aspirations were being wasted, he devoted himself to architectural photography : In February 2010, his first exhibition was shown in the CDA gallery in Toulouse, France.
The inaugural objectivity of some of his visual urban compositions is somewhat reminiscent of the Düsseldorf School. Others represent the modern city in a way which initially seems conventional, even reflecting a fascination for the American Way of Life, or an imagined convening of the Lost Generation. Instead, they should be understood as an ironic take on both the images much loved by home department stores and all forms of nostalgia. FJG is not interested in depicting reality, an idea he opposes, but inconstructing his own reality, which has much more potential.
The impersonal can be altered to allow the imagination to take over : photography becomes a tool serving his own subjectivity. Reality as such does not exist and FJG allows himself to alter the image, the colour treatments, close-ups and unlikely viewpoints he uses destroy any attempt to classify him as figurative.
Photography for FJG is not to be practised in a hurry ; a lot of thought goes in to the process. Besides, he almost never carries a camera on him. The work that goes on before and after the actual picture taking is what makes the difference between “doing a photo” and “taking a photo”, the latter being more instantaneous.
The veil is lifted revealing the sculptural qualities of the image. From Ground Zero to waste land, the excitement lies in recreating, as in“coming soon”, “to be done”, not in what is “already there”. FJG is intrigued by an object for its potential, for what he can make of it. The colours he uses are those of dawn ; blur indicates movement ; there is a flow beneath the concrete ; graininess brings out the voluptuousness in stone ; “burnt”, over-done and magnified images lead, beyond doubt, to the essence. Architectural photography opposes death by asserting that movement is continuous through the analogy principle.
With FJG, photography is masonried by nature and responds to the same constraints as architecture : the arrangement of exhibited images, the fact that FJG has done away with paper, printing instead to acrylic glass or brushed aluminium (...), all contribute to creating a match between the depth of the photographed matter and the thickness of the base. Photography then ceases to be figurative and imperceptibly embraces a sculptural dimension, which strengthens the link between photographer and artist and transforms the pleasure of seeing into a scopic, readily sensual experience.
Be it the omnipotent city, unclaimed waste land promised to a renewal or the aesthetics of accidents : walls of glass, stone and metal all have in common that they exude the heady presence of human beings. Architectural photography as it is presented and crafted by FJG becomes an ode to living matter.
Frédéric-JG Blanque se passionne pour la photographie dès l’adolescence. Un oncle néerlandais portraitiste, lui transmet le goût de la photographie. Il a alors 14 ans. Le noir et blanc, son premier Polaroïd, une pratique assidue du moyen format argentique forme son œil à la composition « au carré ». Des études en école de commerce l’éloignent des lumières rouges du labo photo. Son Canon et ses objectifs sommeillent...Juin 2001, il se promène dans le Lower Manhattan, caresse le pied gris métallisé du WTC. Ce cadrage parfait! Impossible de le saisir, de le conserver, de le partager. Pas d’appareil sur lui! Il se promet de revenir… Ground zero!
2007, ses désirs de jeunesse ressuscitent et s’imposent, il se consacre à la photographie d’architecture. Février 2010, première exposition à la galerie toulousaine CDA. Pour Frederic-JG Blanque, l'intérêt n’est pas la reproduction, mais la construction de sa réalité. La photographie devient l’outil au service de sa subjectivité. Il s’autorise l’intervention sur l’image : les traitements chromatiques, les cadrages très serrés, les points de vue improbables.Frederic-JG Banque, ne pratique pas la photographie dans l’urgence, elle est toujours précédée d'une réflexion en amont et un travail en aval de la prise de vue. Différence, pour lui, entre un acte instantané: « prendre une photo » et son experience: « faire une photo ».C’est le sujet en puissance qui intrigue Frederic-JG Blanque, ce qu’il va en obtenir. Les couleurs convoquées sont celles de l’aurore; le flou révèle le mouvement; la circulation se fait sous le béton; le grain témoigne d’une volupté de la pierre. La photographie d’architecture défie le temps et affirme la pérennité du mouvement.
La photographie assigne chez Frederic-JG Blanque les contraintes de l’architecture: la disposition des images, la disparition du papier, le support verre acrylique ou aluminium brossé. Tout participe à ce que l’épaisseur de la matière photographiée épouse celle du support. S'éloigne alors la photographie du figuratif pour embrasser une dimension plastique, qui transforme le photographe en artiste. Le plaisir de la vue en sensation.
"La photographie d’architecture, telle que la présente et la travaille Frederic-JG Blanque, devient une ode à la matière vivante."