If photography is art, then for Philippe Graton, it is the art of life.
French but born in Brussels, Belgium in 1961, Philippe Graton has been taking photographs since his childhood.
In 1973, for his 12th birthday, he received a Kodak Instamatic camera. From that day on, he began photographing the world around him.
When he was fifteen, the French Lycée of Brussels opened a photo contest focusing on school life, allowing pupils to bring a camera to school. After winning the contest, Philippe kept bringing his camera in and photographing his daily life inside and outside high school.
At nineteen, he carried his camera with him in the French Army too and continued recording his soldier’s life.
When he returned to civilian life, he pursued his passion as a freelance journalist for several magazines, mostly military and adventure. He reported from Vietnam, Cambodia and Bosnia as a freelance, his photographs being distributed by Sygma.
When his father, a comic strip author, asked for his help to self-publish his work, Philippe accepted. This job has been monopolizing his time more than he thought it would, especially that he also photo-documents motorsports, writes scenarios, and has managed to adapt the comics into a movie.
Although it has become more and more difficult for him to work as a photo reporter, he has continued taking pictures everywhere he goes, whatever he does. His photography has become a much more personal body of work, refocusing on the observation of the world around him. Does everyday life, wife, children, and work constitute obstacles to creation? Or, paradoxically, are they the most challenging of subjects?
Through his numerous professional activities, Philippe Graton has been lucky enough to meet many interesting people, and these celebrities, legendary racing drivers and movie stars appear in his photo journal. But, Philippe photographs them exactly the same way he photographs anonymous people, relatives and friends. This brings about surprising encounters, resulting in his remarkable and out-of-the-ordinary photographs as well as the unique style of his work. Nobody does what he does.
Also, his passage into what the French call “The Ninth Art” (comic books) and storywriting has changed his way of telling stories with images. More and more, photojournalism seems to resemble a forgery, deliberate or not. For Philippe, most of the images we are shown every day are lies. Photography is only true when it renders a state of mind, a feeling or a relationship with sincerity. Even art and fiction are more trustworthy than the alleged return of reality.
Making his life a permanent report, sometimes playing with fiction, Philippe Graton does not publish nor exhibit but compulsively continues his daily work which has much to tell about who we are, what binds us and obsesses us.
This site, which reveals only a part of his work, is regularly refreshed.
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