PIERRE LE HORS!
Hot 'N' Gold magazine thinks Pierre Le Hors has a fantastic eye for objects, colour and space! After recently discovering one of his publications in the Photographers Gallery (UK) Byways & Through Lines it left us instantly wanting to know more... We chat photographic books, fireworks and different cultural environments.
All Images Copyright © 2014 Byways & Through Lines. Pierre Le Hors
Hello Pierre! Firstly, whereabouts are you from? What's your background in photography?
I was born in France, but my parents moved away when I was 3 years old and we lived on sailboat for a number of years. We traveled a lot - in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean - so my childhood was somewhat unusual, I guess. In '91 - 92 we settled in Florida, where my parents found work and I was put in the American school system. I attended public schools in Florida, eventually studying art at Florida State University. I was initially interested in painting, but as a studio art major we were required to take a foundation photography course, where we were taught the basics of working in a black and white darkroom. I was encouraged to continue with photography, and somehow I guess it stuck...I do still enjoy drawing though. After moving to New York, 11 years ago, I found work assisting commercial photographers, which taught me a lot of technical skills (working in the studio, lighting, and so on. It took some years, but eventually I realized I wasn't interested in seeking out commercial jobs so I decided to focus on my artwork again. More recently I attended the ICP-Bard MFA program, a 2-year master's level study for artists working with photography.
Hot 'N' Gold is intrigued by your book 'Byways & Through Lines' - can you talk us through the narrative?
Well, it's a little complicated because there are actually several different narratives interwoven in that book - hence the title. At the time I was doing these daily images by placing a clear container of water over a scanner, and dropping inks and dyes into it as the scan was progressing - showing that process is one part of the book. Some pictures are just documentation of installations made for a specific context (for example, the image of the laptop standing on its side). In the book these kinds of pictures are allowed take on new, associative meanings. Other pictures are simply shots taken from daily life — like the opening image of the fish mouth, which ended up in a bouillabaisse my friend made, and is shown eviscerated a few pages later. I think of that opening sequence as being about breath — the fish being unable to breathe outside of water, the air conditioning duct taking hot air out through a window, the bubble... so there's a real mix of disparate imagery, but I tried to find formal connections within it all, so that one image might tie in with the next, creating its own peculiar logic.
All Images Copyright © 2014 RGB Transferences. Pierre Le Hors
What challenges have you had to overcome as an artist regarding the edit, layout and publication process?
Making publications, first of all, is very costly. So whenever I've made publications, self-published or otherwise, its been about finding ways to work within the limitations of modest means. Usually those limitations turn out to be helpful in moving the project along a particular path, and finding freedom within those contraints. In my opinion the importance of editing and layout in carrying meaning can't be overstated. I try not to set limits on what I allow myself to photograph, so one challenge for me is that almost any image has the potential to be imbued with multiple meanings. These decisions usually come down to editing and layout, which thankfully I've gotten better at with time. I've learned, for example, that it's much easier to edit by printing images, rather than looking at them on a screen...
Do you have any all time favorite photo-books?
"Desert Cities" by Aglaia Konrad
"East Broadway Breakdown" by Christopher Wool,
The "Wako" books of Wolfgang Tillmans
"Der Baum" by Erik van der Weijde
"Visible World" by Fischli / Weiss
"The Destruction of Lower Manhattan" by Danny Lyon
and too many books to mention from Roma Publications...
Fireworks can trigger a mixture of sensibilities! What interests you most about them?
It's a very generic subject. Fireworks ride a thin line between spectacle and banality.
All Images Copyright © 2014 Firework Studies. Pierre Le Hors
Hard question! Probably Japan is near the top of that list.
Where in the world would you most like to visit?
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Andrei Tarkovsky's "Nostalghia"
Finally, what's the best film you've watched recently?
Shooting and editing for a collaborative publication project with Motto Distribution in Berlin. But it's still very early so I can't really say too much about it...
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